Mechanic’s liens give contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and other professionals in the business of improving real property a way to collect after doing work for, and/or providing supplies to, owners that don’t want to pay up.

A mechanic’s lien is a security interest in the title to property held by an individual, or company, who has improved the property by supplying the owner with labor and/or materials. Once a mechanic’s lien is properly filed, a lienor can recover by commencing an action to foreclose on the lien which forces the owner to sell the property in order to pay the lien off.

Mechanic’s liens can be filed against property owned by the state or a public corporation, which is known as a public improvement, or property owned by an individual or entity, which is known as a private improvement.

Lienors can file a mechanic’s lien, or the “notice of lien,” anytime during the progress of the work or can file within eight months either after the contract is complete or from the date the last item of work was performed or material was supplied. However, for single family dwellings, the mechanic’s lien must be filed within four months instead of eight.

So what do you have to include in your mechanic’s lien? There are several pieces of information you need to collect before you begin drafting your lien. The following information must be included in your mechanic’s lien:

  • Owner’s name and correct legal address of the property including the section, block and lot. Note: You can get this information from the property deed.
  • Name and address of the company or individual you contracted with to do the work and/or supply materials.
  • Agreed price, and the amount unpaid, for the services and/or materials provided.
  • Description of the work performed and/or items supplied.
  • Dates when you started and finished.

Mechanic’s lien lasts for only one year after it is filed unless an action is commenced to foreclose the lien. However, before the one year is up, lienors can file an extension to extend the lien for another year as long as the property is not a single family dwelling. Extensions for liens on single family dwellings can only be extended by court order.

James G. Dibbini & Associates, P.C. has over 20 years of experience helping contractors and sub-contractors protect their interests and recover from non-paying property owners either through settlement or foreclosing on the lien. If you need help filing a mechanic’s lien, give us a call at (914) 965-1011 or email us at jdibbini@dibbinilaw.com.