Filing a mechanic’s lien can be a complex process. On this page, I will break down the steps to try to make them more manageable for you.
One of the first things that you should do if you are interested in filing a mechanic’s lien is contact an attorney. An attorney can sit down with you and review your case to determine if you should file the lien and the proper way to do it. They will explain the difficulties of your particular case as well as the strong points of it. An attorney is necessary if you want to give yourself the best chance to win the case and to be justly compensated.
You should contact an attorney as soon as it is apparent that your clients will not be paying for the services you provided. This is because, as already mentioned, there is a time restriction on when you can file a lien. You must file within 90 days of your last day on the job that you are requesting payment for. To ensure that you give yourself the best chance to win, you should not wait until close to the last day to file. The sooner you get started on the process, the sooner you could be compensated.
Serving the Other Party
After you contact a lawyer, you must give notice to the property owner stating that you have filed a lien against them. These notices cannot be given by you. Instead, they must be served by a marshal.
In your lien you have to state the date that you commenced work and the date that you completed work at the property. You have to describe the property itself. You also have to name the owner. If you are in a sub-contract contract situation, you have to name the general contractor.
Then there’s a second document which is a Notice of Intent to File a Mechanic’s Lien which you have to record. You have to serve these to the parties that you’re seeking to recover against and have these documents recorded on the land records. You always have to serve the other party with the mechanic’s lien, although sometimes serving them with the Notice of the Mechanic’s Lien is not necessary. Again, a lawyer can help you determine which papers to serve and when to serve them.
Title Search and Land Records
You must then conduct a title search, which means that you need to get the information on the entire financial history of the property. You can perform a title search yourself, but this will be an inconvenience. You will have to fill out paperwork and go to the land records. It is much easier to hire a title search company to do this for you.
After you file the lien, you need to make sure that it is recorded in the land records within 90 days. This means that, in Connecticut, you must go to the town where the property is located and file the lien with the town clerk. The lien that you file must be documented on the land records and served to the parties involved in order for it to be valid.
Other Party Response
Once that’s done, the property owner can do a few things. They can try to file a document with the court seeking to dissolve the lien by saying that it is defective for some reason or they don’t owe the money. If the owner tries to use this defense, they essentially need to prove that you never worked on the property. It’s pretty difficult to get a mechanic’s lien discharged because courts are generally reluctant unless it’s completely defective. If you’re trying to dispute what’s owed and what’s not as a premise to get your lien discharged, courts will generally say, “Now, you know what? Everybody deserves a day in court. We’ll let them try it.”
The court is generally reluctant to discharge a lien claim unless there is a material technical deficiency with the lien. This might include failure to serve papers to the property owner, failure to enter the lien into land records, or a similar issue. If one of these issues comes up, the court might dismiss the lien immediately. So, it is important to make sure that you file and serve all paperwork correctly. Again, having a lawyer help can avoid any of these issues.