Legal Brief: When to File a Mechanic’s Lien

December 15, 2023
Security Business Magazine

Types : Bylined Articles

Contractors who are owed money may turn to this legal method, but be sure it is not abused

Security integrators are in the business of protecting people and property; however, sometimes they need their own protection – not just from personal injury and property damage, but also from people who do not pay them for their work. If you do not get paid on a job, you can send an invoice, follow up with a letter, or bring a lawsuit. Alternatively, you also may have the option to file a mechanic’s lien.

Notwithstanding the funny name, mechanic’s liens are a powerful and often abused legal tool for contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers to secure and obtain payment for work that they performed on real property. While the procedures and requirements vary from state to state (and even county to county), liens are usually not complicated documents. They typically include the amount of money allegedly not paid, the last date that labor or materials were provided, the location of the project, and other relevant data.

The Power of the Lien
Liens are usually filed with a local clerk and recorded on the property docket, and the fact they are filed in the public record and impair the title of real property makes them very powerful – and also subject to abuse.

Indeed, not all mechanic’s liens are meritorious. For example, a party who files a lien without having performed any verifiable work has abused the process and could be liable for consequential and punitive damages. Another example is a party who files a lien after already receiving full compensation.