Mechanic Liens

Filing a mechanic’s lien is the single most effective way for a construction professional to get paid. This is true whether you are a general contractor, subcontractor, material supplier, or even a lessor of equipment used on a project.

In simplest terms, a mechanic’s lien is a short document filed in the public records of the parish (or county) where your project is located. Filing a mechanic’s lien has a number of legal effects that put pressure on the parties to pay your debt. Although each case is different, most mechanic’s liens, when properly filed, will immediately:

  • Prevent the property’s sale, refinancing or transfer
  • Allow you to directly sue the property owner
  • Freeze the flow of funds on the project
  • Secure your debt (like a mortgage) with the property
  • Involve lenders, owners and investors in your dispute

While there are many lien “forms” in the marketplace, it can be a mistake to file a mechanic’s lien without legal representation. Lien laws are complex, with many rules that must be strictly followed for the lien to have legal effect. Further, the law provide for penalties and attorney fees to be awarded against you if you file a lien improperly and fail to remove it from the public records. Plus, having an attorney prepare your lien means you can get legal advice about your specific lien rights, the dollar value of your claim, the type of lien you should file, what information must be included, and more.

The attorneys at Smiley Law have years of experience drafting, filing, and enforcing mechanic’s liens. No project or debt is too large or small – we’ve filed liens for debts as small as a few thousand dollars, and liens where our clients were owed hundreds of thousands. Allow our experienced attorneys to assist you with the mechanic’s lien process today.

FAQs

How Long Do I Have to File a Lien?

This depends on where you are performing construction services. Here are the general rules:

California: 90 days from completion of entire project (not just your work), unless a Notice of Completion is filed, and then only 60 days from filing of the notice of completion.

Louisiana: 60 days from substantial completion of entire project (not just your work), unless a Notice of Completion is filed, and then only 30 days from filing of the notice of completion.

Washington: 90 days from your last furnishing of labor and/or materials to the project.

Oregon: 75 days from your last furnishing of labor and/or materials to the project.

*Note – these timelines are for private (i.e. non-government) projects. There may be (and often are) different rules governing liens for public jobs.

Am I Required to File Any Notices?

Whether a notice is required depends on your role on the project and the project’s state. Even when notice is required, there may be applicable exceptions to the rule, so seeking the advice of an attorney is helpful. Here are the general rules:

California: Preliminary notice is required from anyone who did not contract with the property owner directly. Notice must be given within 20 days of first starting work.

Louisiana: Typically no. However, for material suppliers, notice of intent to lien required within 75 days of starting work, or 10 days before filing a lien, whichever is earlier. Equipment rental companies must deliver a notice of lease within 10 days of delivering equipment.

Washington: Preliminary notice required from anyone who did not contract with the property owner directly within 60 days of first starting work.

Oregon: Preliminary notice required from anyone who did not contract with the property owner directly within 8 days of first starting work.

*Note – these timelines are for private (i.e. non-government) projects. There may be (and often are) different rules governing liens for public jobs.

If I am Being Promised Payment, Should I Wait to File a Lien?

Absolutely not. If there is one fundamental rule about mechanic’s liens that applies uniformly across the United States, it is this: promises to pay will NOT extend your lien deadline.

If you rely on promises of payment and refrain from filing your lien, you will lose all lien rights once the deadline passes.

Order: Mechanic’s Lien

Please fill out the form below. You’ll be contacted by a Smiley Law attorney to go into
greater detail about your needs.

  1. Complete and submit the form.
  2. An Attorney from Smiley Law will call you to get the necessary information to produce your Mechanic’s Lien.
  3. A bill will be sent to you via your email address.
  4. Upon payment, the Attorney will prepare and file your Mechanic’s Lien.

FAQs

If I submit the form, does that mean I owe money?

No. A Smiley Law Attorney will review your case and contact you to make sure there is no conflict of interest in representing you and that the firm has all of the information needed to prepare and file an effective mechanic’s lien. Payment will be discussed during that phone call.