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  • Writer's pictureKristen Shields

Mechanic's Liens Deadlines - Tricky Things

States vary on their rules surrounding mechanic's liens. However, typically there are two phases to lien: 1) the notice of nonpayment and then 2) the claim of lien. Notices of nonpayment have to be filed putting the general contractor and owner of the project on notice that you have not been paid but have intent to file a mechanic's lien, and a separate notice has to be sent for EACH month that you performed work but not are fully paid. Each month's notice has to be served upon the GC and owner within a certain number of days. This is a required step before you can even get to actually filing a mechanic's lien, or the claim of lien step.

Our flat fee includes as many notices as is required as well as the claim of lien - in other words, we are your one-stop shop for all things liens (filing a lien, providing lien waivers, preserving your liens, and more). In a complicated world, sometimes easy is needed and with a team you can trust.

As an example of how tricky mechanic's liens deadlines can be: In Tennessee, notice of nonpayment for each month has to be served within 90 days of the last day of each month you did work but haven't been paid. Ironically, you have to file your claim of lien within a certain number of days of the exact last day you performed work. What does that mean? .... That your claim of lien deadline could hit before your notice deadline, but your notice is a pre-requisite to lien.

What does this mean? Watch your timing, and don't sit. Circumstances don't improve over time, and they certainly don't improve as we live longer in a pandemic. Mechanic's liens deadlines are tricky. People miss deadlines to lien all of the time because the rules are so strict and complex. Most of the time, this happens because people just don't know better - don't be hard on yourself for now knowing - but there also is misinformation on the Internet that people rely upon and that results in people losing their lien rights. Of anything, there is the strictest procedure surrounding liens. There is no slightly right - they have to be done right. There is no "re-do" to liens. If you're owed on a project and aren't sure whether a lien right now is your best course of action, please reach out, and we can chat about your options for now or in the future. It doesn't hurt to know the potential landscape going forward. You could be close to a deadline, and knowing that could impact your decision-making.

If you happen to have missed deadlines to file a mechanic's lien, you still have options to try to recover payment and potentially put enough pressure to cause funds to start flowing your direction before even having to win on the merits. We can talk about those paths and alternatives and fill your toolbox with options - you grab the ones you want.

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