What You Need to Know About Mechanic’s Liens

A mechanic’s lien is a remedy for subcontractors, contractors, suppliers, and other construction professionals to resolve payment issues. When you file a lien on property, the owner may not sell or refinance the property until those protected by the lien are paid in full.

It is important to note that mechanic’s liens may only be filed on private construction projects. If the property owner or general contractor has posted a payment bond, those seeking payment can file a bond claim instead of, or in addition to, a mechanic’s lien. For publicly owned projects, bond claims are the sole remedy.

Filing and managing a mechanic’s lien successfully can be a difficult and time-consuming task, as the required steps can vary from one state to the next. This article contains information you need to know about filing liens in Connecticut.

Who Can File?

Any person or business entity having a claim for more than $10 for materials furnished or services rendered in the construction, raising, removal or repairs of any building or any of its appurtenances, or in connection with the improvement, development or subdivision of a plot of land. The following are examples of types of work that give rise to a mechanic’s lien: road construction and grading of a building site; installation of fixtures into a building; preparation of architectural plans actually used in the construction of a building; and the construction of a well on property. As a general rule, the courts look to whether the goods or services provided by the lienor were “directly associated with the physical construction or improvement of the land” in determining whether they give rise to a lien.

Filing Deadlines

There is no condition set forth in the lien statutes as to how early a claimant may file a lien, other than that a debt has arisen and gone unpaid. However, in order to be valid, a claimant must file its lien within ninety (90) days from the last date the claimant provided services, materials, or labor. Defining the day of “last performed work” is of great importance to all lienors. It has been held to include all work performed prior to completion of the contract, including so-called “punch list work,” but does not generally include warranty or repair work.

What Information Must be Contained in a Lien?  

A lien is not valid unless the person performing the services or furnishing the materials files a certificate of lien with the town clerk of the town in which the building or lond is situated. The certificate must (1) be in writing; (2) describe the premises being listed; (3) state the amount “justly due” to the lienor that is being claimed as a lien; (4) state the name of the person(s) against whom the lien is being filed; and (5) state the date of commencement of the performance of services or furnishing of materials. Although not required, it is often useful to state in the body of the lien the date upon which the lienor ceased performing work in order to establish the starting point for the 90-day filing period.

Enforcement Deadlines

Once filed, a Connecticut mechanic’s lien is only in force for one year from the date of filing. The lienor must foreclose the lien within that one year period; otherwise the lien is automatically extinguished. The fact that a lien remains on the land records after it has been extinguished in no way affects the owner’s title..  

If you need to file or enforce a mechanic’s lien in Connecticut, contact our firm today. We will ensure that your lien complies with all statutory requirements and is properly served on all parties in a timely manner. In those situations where you need to foreclose the lien, we will aggressively represent your interests so that you receive your money as soon as possible.

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Michelson, Kane, Royster & Barger P.C.

At Michelson, Kane, Royster & Barger P.C., our goal is to provide our clients with the advice and representation they need in order to meet their legal and practical objectives. Our team is experienced, collaborative, knowledgeable, and friendly. Several of our award-winning attorneys play key roles in construction organizations, and even help to shape the laws that affect the construction industry in Connecticut. Let us put our experience to work for you.