Any lien on your property can prevent you from selling it or borrowing against it. Normally, a lien on your property has to do with disputes over debts you are accused of having left unpaid. Mechanic’s liens, also known as construction liens or property liens, are liens filed by contractors, subcontractors, or suppliers who claim they are still owed for work performed or materials provided to improve your property.
Property Owners in the Middle
While mechanic’s liens may be filed directly in relation to a debt for work you contracted, there is a much more complicated way a property owner can find themselves in the middle of a mechanic’s lien dispute. When a general contractor performs work on your property, they will often subcontract some of the work or plan with suppliers to provide materials. Such agreements may be in support of the project you commissioned, but the subsequent arrangements the general contractor makes to get the job done are often unseen by the property owner.
For example, if a homeowner signs a contract with a general contractor to remodel their kitchen, the general contractor may make several agreements with individual sub-contractors to address specific jobs. The general contractor may hire a plumber, a painter, and a flooring installer. The general contractor may do some of the work or simply serve as the job supervisor to coordinate all aspects of the project you requested.
If the general contractor is paid by you for all the work, you satisfy your contractual obligations. However, if that general contractor neglects to pay for the work or materials provided according to the subsequent contracts made to complete the project, that can come back to haunt the homeowner. Despite the fact that the subcontractor has no direct contract with the homeowner, subcontractors have the legal right to file a lien against the property they helped to improve to secure payment for their contributions.
How is a Mechanic’s Lien Secured?
The rules regarding mechanic’s liens for subcontractors and suppliers vary throughout the country. The process to secure a mechanic’s lien usually involves three obligations:
- The subcontractor or supplier, not contracted by the property owner, must notify the property owner of the arrangement to provide services or supplies within a specific time period of the execution of these undertakings.
- The subcontractor or supplier must file a mechanic’s lien claim in the county where the property is located.
- If a solution is not reached with the property owner, the subcontractor/supplier has a specific window to file a lawsuit. If the lawsuit misses the deadline, the lien becomes worthless.
Even if the lien expires and the issue seems resolved, it is a good idea for the property owner to invest time to clear the property of the lien. This can be done through a court order.
Towson Real Estate Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Represent Creditors with Mechanic’s Liens
If you have concerns about issuing or receiving a mechanic’s lien, contact the Towson real estate lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. To set up a free case evaluation, fill out an online form or call us at 443-589-0150. With offices in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we serve clients throughout Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.