A mechanic’s lien form is a document that allows someone who is providing labor services or materials (contractor, subcontractor, tradesperson, or supplier) to claim money that they are owed from a client or other party. The purpose of this form is to help the claimant recover the money that a debtor owes. Edit the contractor's lien form to your needs and instantly get a PDF document.
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After offering construction services, materials, or equipment to another party, a person who is struggling to recover money owed might need to file a mechanic’s lien form. Continue reading to learn more about how to file the legal form, what the purpose of the document is, and other tips on recovering your money.
What Is a Mechanic’s Lien Form?
A mechanic’s lien form is a document that allows someone who is providing labor services or materials—such as a contractor, subcontractor, tradesperson, or supplier—to claim money that he or she is owed from a client or other party. The person making the claim is known as the claimant, and the person the form is being filed against is known as the debtor. The legal document is also known as a “Construction Lien,” “Lien Affidavit,” or “Property Lien.”
The purpose of a Mechanic’s Lien form is to help the claimant recover the money that a debtor owes. Once filed, the lien is held against a property for a period of six to 12 months, depending on the jurisdiction and state law. This prevents the owner from selling the property until the lien is removed, which can only be done by paying off all outstanding debts to the claimant.
Why Is a Mechanic’s Lien Form Important?
As mentioned, the primary purpose of a Mechanics Lien form is to help the claimant recover the money that a debtor owes for services or materials. Therefore, these forms are important for ensuring that contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers are financially protected whenever they provide their services to an individual or other third party. After you file a lien, the property on which the construction work or services took place cannot be sold until the outstanding balance for work performed is paid.
What Should I Include in a Mechanic’s Lien Form?
Below are descriptions of the sections on the Mechanic’s Lien template that you will need to fill in:
In this section, include the address of the property and a legal description that matches the description used when providing services or materials to the other party. This should include the property boundaries and other descriptive factors. If unsure, you should be able to obtain the legal property description from your county recorder or county clerk.
The name and mailing address of both the claimant and the debtor must be included in this section. Where there are multiple debtors, provide information, names, and addresses of all of the people or companies that ordered the work.
Description of Work
Add the basic information about the type of labor or materials that the claimant provided to the hiring party. You may wish to attach the original work contract or proof of agreement to offer the services and an itemized list of products and services provided to the hiring party.
Date of Work
This is the date on which work commenced and the date on which work was completed. When selling materials on a one-time basis, one date will suffice.
This is the price of the services or materials stated in the description of work and how much the debtor still owes. Where there has been a partial payment or deposit for services paid upfront, this information can be disclosed here, clearly showing the remaining balance due.
How To Write a Mechanic’s Lien Form
Writing the document and filing the mechanic's lien form has never been easier. Before you start, there are a few steps that you legally must go through first. Follow the guidelines below to process the Mechanic’s Lien form in your state.
Preliminary notice to the counterpart
Before filing Mechanic’s Liens, a claimant must serve a preliminary notice to the owner and general contractor of the property that is using his or her services or materials. This is known as a Notice to Owner (NTO).
The laborer must send a preliminary notice for all construction work, not just when outstanding payment is due. Many states require this notice to have been served before a Mechanic’s Lien form can be filed, typically 60 to 90 days after work has commenced. State law varies, and some US states require the NTO to be filed within a few days.
Notice of intent to the counterpart
A Notice of Intent (NOI) is the next stage for recovering money owed for products and services. It informs the hiring company or individual that the money is due and that a Mechanic’s Lien form will be filed against the property unless payment is made promptly.
According to Mechanic’s Lien laws, this is only a legal requirement in ten US states (AR, CO, CT, IL, MD, MO, ND, PA, WI, and WY). In these ten jurisdictions, you cannot legally file a Mechanic’s Lien without first filing an NOI. However, it is still recommended to send an NOI in all other states, as most hiring companies will pay outstanding funds immediately to avoid the lien process.
Fill in all necessary information
Once you have downloaded our free Mechanic’s Lien form, you need to fill in the blanks and provide all necessary information as stated in the previous sections. The claimant needs to sign the form and date the document, but this must be done in the presence of a Notary Public for the legal document to be valid. Therefore, be sure to wait to sign the form until a notary can be available and present to provide his or her signature as well.
A few states also require the signature of a verifier who can confirm that the work specified in the form has indeed been completed. This is usually a co-worker who has been helping with the project and can testify that the claims are true.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Is a mechanic’s lien document right for me?
The name suggests that a mechanic’s lien is only for mechanics to use. However, the form can be used by any skilled laborer that needs to collect money from clients in exchange for labor, materials, tools, equipment, or services. Therefore, a mechanic’s lien form is the right type of legal document if any of the following are applicable to your situation:
You are a subcontractor who is waiting for money from a contractor;
You are a supplier who is waiting to be paid for materials;
You are a skilled laborer who needs to collect money from the client; or
You are an architect or other professional service provider who has not yet been paid.
What happens after filing a mechanic’s lien?
After using your mechanic’s lien form and filing it with the county records office, the individual or organization with outstanding debts is served notice. The lien then attaches to the property for six months to one year, depending on the local jurisdiction’s laws, preventing the property owner from selling the property. The lien can only be removed when the debtor pays the money owed.
Does a mechanic’s lien affect your credit score?
Yes, a mechanic’s lien can affect the credit history of the debtor and may show up on credit reports. Any kind of lien reflects the payment history of the debtor, which in turn contributes to around 35 percent of his or her credit score. Therefore, a mechanic’s lien may harm a person’s credit rating.