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Mechanics Liens, Materialmens Liens

Mechanics Liens get You Paid for the Good Work You do

Mechanics Liens are the fastest and most effective way to make parties pay you for your work on a construction project. If you completed any work big or small on a building or other improvement to real property, you may have the right to file a lien that will attach to that property giving public notice of your right to be paid.

What is a Mechanics Lien?

A Mechanics Lien is a legal instrument used to help collect on a debt when work was done or supplies were provided for a piece of property and the other contracting party failed to pay for that work or supplies. Mechanics Liens are available to individual laborers, subcontractors and general contractors as well as material suppliers. Ala. Code 35-11-210. The requirements and deadlines are different for each. A Mechanics Lien is only available for private projects and is not available is the owner of the project is a government entity. If the owner of the project is government entity, you may have the option of filing a bond claim which is described on a different page on the site.

How Does a Mechanics Lien Work?

A mechanics lien is filed in the property records of the probate court in the county or parish where the real property it relates to is situated (immovable property if you are in Louisiana). The Mechanics Lien clouds title to the property so that it cannot be sold with free and clear title until either a Release of Lien document is filed or certain time limits expire. The lien is for the unpaid balance owed for the work done or materials supplied. Ala. Code 35-11-210.

When can I File a Lien?

Each state has time limitations or statutes of limitations on the time for filing a Mechanics Lien. Those restrictions vary depending whether you provided work or supplies, whether you are a labor or a contractor and depending with whom you contracted to do the work. In Alabama, as of July 2018, a contractor whose contract is with the owner has six (6) months to file a Mechanics Lien from the last day of work performed on the project. Ala. Code 35-11-215. A subcontractor whose contract is with another contractor has four (4) months to file a Mechanics Lien from the last day of work performed on the project. Ala. Code 35-11-215. A journeyman or laborer has thirty (30) days to file a lien from the last day of work performed on the project. Ala. Code 35-11-2015. These time limits are tight and your rights are reduced if they expire. There are other legal means to collect the indebtedness owed you after your lien rights expire, however, those options are slower and can be more costly.

Time limits vary state by state, if you are in Alabama, Louisiana or Florida and want to enforce your right to payment for the work you've done, contact Jarvis Law Firm, PC today and set up a free consultation where we can discuss all of your legal options at (251) 219-9706 or adam@jarvislawfirmpc.com.

Special Notice Requirements for Material Suppliers and Subcontractors

Suppliers of materials have an additional notice requirement in Alabama. Ala. Code 35-11-210. In order for a supplier to exercise Lien rights, the supplier must first send written notice to the owner before the materials are provided that informs the owner that certain materials and supplies will be provided for the benefit of buildings or other improvements on the owner's specified real property and at specified prices. Ala. Code 35-11-210. The notice must use very specific language to be effective. The benefit to suppliers of providing this notice is that the supplier will have the right to a Lien in the amount of the full unpaid balance on the supplies regardless whether that amount exceeds what is owed to the contractor for the project.

Subcontractors, who do not have a direct contract with the owner of a project, are required to serve a Notice of Intent to Lien on the owner after the work is complete but prior to filing a Mechanics Lien. Ala. Code 35-11-218. The Notice of Intent to Lien must specify the amount of money claimed, the work performed giving rise to the claim, and who owes the money. Ala. Code 35-11-218.

Drafting and sending notices that relate to Mechanics and Materialmens Liens should not take a lot of time for an experienced Construction Law Lawyer and for that reason should not be expensive. Jarvis Law Firm, PC is happy to quote fixed fees for these notices so that you can be sure your rights are protected.

Enforcing Liens

Awareness of the filing of a Lien is a motivating influence for an owner to make sure the filer of the Lien gets paid because the owner needs to keep their title to the property clear to protect their investment. This is especially so if the owner is seeking to sell the property or to use it as security for a lender. Sometimes, however, even these influences are not enough to cause the parties to pay the amount that is subject to the lien. In those cases, the party who filed the lien must file suit to enforce the lien within six (6) months of the entire indebtedness that is secured by the Lien becoming due. Ala. Code 35-11-221.

We can Help

If you need the assistance of a construction law attorney to enforce your right to be paid for the good work that you have done, contact Jarvis Law Firm, PC today at (251) 219-9706 or email us at adam@jarvislawfirmpc.com and set up a free consultation. We would be happy to help.

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