A mechanic’s lien sounds like it might involve an auto repairman waiting for his customer to come to the shop to pay him for a recently repaired vehicle.
This New York law actually addresses how licensed contractors and suppliers can file a lien when they haven’t been paid for a construction project. The lien gives the contractor or supplier a right to the property until the debt is paid.
Filing a mechanic’s lien
For a mechanic’s lien to be valid, it must include information such as the contractor or supplier’s name and address, the property owner’s name and address, a description of the labor and materials used for the project, the lien amount and a property description, among other information. It also must be signed and notarized.
It’s very important for the contractor or supplier to serve the owner of the property with a copy of the lien. However, the lien does not have to be served personally. It can be sent via certified mail, among other options.
The lien can be filed during the project itself, but must be filed no later than eight months after the project is completed. This applies to projects other than single family dwellings.
The lien must be filed in the clerk’s office in the county where the property is located. It is generally valid for one year after it is filed but it may be extended in certain situations.
After the contractor or supplier is paid, the lien is cancelled and a form is filed with the county clerk’s office where the lien was filed.
It’s important that all steps of the lien process are followed to ensure the lien is valid. A real estate attorney can provide guidance about the filing process and also offer help with the defense of mechanic’s liens if needed.