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What is a Mechanic Lien?

A mechanic's lien (also known as a "material men," material suppliers' lien) is a method used by contractors or other people employed to improve real estate to ensure that owners of the enhanced property pay for those services and materials. If the property owner does not pay for services or materials, the mechanic (or any service that provides a service) may initiate proceedings in court to force the sale of the property to pay for services and materials. In case, if you are looking for more information about mechanics lien click here.

Basic Requirements for Access to Mechanic Lien Rights

These are the basic elements required to determine if a person is entitled to the mechanic's assessment:

Real estate Mechanic levies is only fixed to real estate, to the real property, such as land, a house, a condominium, etc. A person cannot get a mechanic's lien on a car or something considered personal characteristic.

For example, a contractor cannot build on a piece of land and then file a mechanic's lien on another land, although the same owner owns both plots of land.

Consent - the property owner must consent to the work that the contractor or subcontractor is doing with his property. A contractor or subcontractor cannot improve the property without the consent of the property owner.

How does the mechanic's assessment work?

Typically, the person employed to improve the property ties a financial claim to the property that the contractor was employed to improve. The lien is a "hold" on real estate.

Generally, the mechanic will give the owner of the goods a mechanic's lien notice. The mechanic will also record the lien at the county or city registry office so that it is attached to the land title. If the owner of the goods does not pay the mechanic (contractor), then the mechanic can bring court procedures to sell the land for the payment of the services rendered.

Who is considered a "Mechanic?"

A "mechanic" is commonly defined as someone who provides certain services, such as plumbing, painting, construction, carpentry, or someone who provides the building materials and supplies. Thus, a general contractor or a subcontractor is considered "mechanics" and they are granted the mechanic's lien rights.

Note: Some states give the mechanic's lien rights to other professionals. Be sure to check with your state law.

Waiver of the Mechanic Lien

A property owner will pay the general contractor and will often trust that the general contractor will pay all subcontractors. When a general contractor, however, cannot pay subcontractors, subcontractors may have the right to use the mechanic's lien against the property owner. Although the property owner can prove that they paid the general contractor, the courts often do not accept this as a defense against a mechanic's lien.

Waivers - More and more property owners will require subcontractors to waive their rights to a mechanic's lien, so that the property owner does not risk possibly paying for the same job twice.

Can a Mechanic Lien Come with my New House?

The mechanic's liens follow the house, not the owner. Some sellers improve their property shortly before a sale. If you are buying a piece of property, be sure to check the records to see if the property has a mechanic lien attached.

Do I need a Lawyer for my Mechanic Lien Issue?

A lawyer can help a contractor or a subcontractor sift through stiff procedural requirements and strict deadlines for filing a mechanic's lien. If you wish to improve your property, a lawyer can help you write a waiver of the mechanic's lien. If someone has already applied a mechanic's lien to your property, a lawyer can assist you with the procedures to ensure that your property is not sold and to develop defenses if you are taken to court.

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