If you are considering contracting work for your property, the following preventive measures are worth consideration:

  • Well Written Contract: A clear, well-drafted contract should include provisions that provide for unfortunate situations, e.g., unreasonable delays and general contractor’s failure to pay all subcontractors.
    • Withholding Funds: This clause can provide for the withholding of funds, for things such as unreasonable work stoppages. The length of time in which the owner is allowed to withhold funds should be longer than the time for filing a mechanic’s lien.
    • "Waiver and Release": This clause can require subcontractors to waive their rights to a mechanic’s lien and release the property owner from liability for nonpayment. This reduces the risk of paying for the same work twice.
  • Notice of Completion: When all work is done, file a:Notice of Completion. It provides:notice of when the construction job completed and shortens the filing time for a mechanic’s lien. It is recorded with your county’s recorder’s office.
  • Record Contract and Payment Bond: Recording a copy of your contract and payment bond with your county’s recorder limits your liability to subcontractors to the remaining amount owed to the general contractor (for mechanic’s liens filed after your recording.)

How Do I Get a Mechanic’s Lien Released?

If a mechanic’s lien has been filed against you, you have a few options:

  • Satisfy the Lien: Paying the lien amount can release a mechanic’s lien. However, if paying the lien amount is not equitable for you, negotiate a more reasonable payment. As part of the settlement, have the contractor sign a mechanic’s lien waiver and release that removes the lien from your property.
  • Lien Release Bond: You can challenge the amount or existence of the lien with a lien release bond. A lien release bond shortens the lien claimant’s enforcement period and can release your property from the mechanic’s lien or terminate a foreclosure action.
  • Court Ordered Release: If the lien claimant fails to meet the statutory requirements, the mechanic’s lien is void. If the lien claimant fails to execute a release of the mechanic’s lien, petition the court to release the lien. You must be proactive to ensure the mechanic’s lien is released. If not, the lien will remain and can cloud your title. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for my Mechanic’s Lien Issue?

A real estate lawyer can help you draft a contract thatanticipates and protects against challenges. If someone has already attached amechanic’s lien to your property, an attorney can assist you through theprocedures to ensure your property will not be sold, to develop defenses if youare taken to court, and to file a release if the mechanic’s lien remains in your title chain