What is a mechanic’s lien?

Mechanic’s Lien? Artisan’s lien? Laborer’s lien? All these terms fall under the broad category of mechanic’s lien. A mechanic’s lien is a legal process which guarantees payment for agreed-upon services completed on an improved piece of property. If the owner of the property does not pay for services within a certain amount of time, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers can file a mechanic’s lien after the work has been completed. A mechanic’s lien extends to work completed or supplies purchased on both the structure and the land under it. Until the debt is paid, the landowner does not have sole claim to ownership of the property, and cannot sell it. A mechanic’s lien is a “hold” against the property that, if unpaid, allows foreclosure, forcing the sale of your home. It is recorded with the County Recorder’s office by the unpaid contractor, subcontractor or supplier.
A mechanic’s lien secures interest in the property to the mechanic. If the debt for services or materials is not paid off, the mechanic or supplier can actually sell the property or some part of it, in order to secure the unpaid debt. It is written into the title to property, to benefit those who have supplied labor or materials that improve the property. The lien can exist for both land and structures built on the land, and private property which is movable.

Sometimes liens can happen when the prime contractor has not paid subcontractors or suppliers. Legally, the homeowner is ultimately responsible for payment – even if they have already paid the prime contractor.

In the category of real property, it is called by various names, including, generically, construction lien. It may also be called a laborer’s lien when referring to those providing labor, supplier’s lien or materialman’s lien when referring to those providing materials, or a design professional’s lien when referring to architects or designers who contribute their skills to planning a building or building expansion or improvement. If dealing with personal property, it may also be called an artisan’s lien. Mechanic’s lien is to secure payment for those who provide services or materials to a property.

Donna Allison

Donna Allison

Donna Allison is an educator and writer with many years of experience. She has taught persuasive, descriptive, narrative, and expository writing to students from preschool age through adults. She has had her own tutoring business for the past four years, and has utilized financial planning to manage her business, and to plan her own retirement. She has a strong interest in using education to help people to become more independent and self-sufficient, and skills in managing money are very important to this.

Donna earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Massachusetts at Boston with a major in psychology, and a minor in education. She holds a master’s degree in special needs from Lesley College in Cambridge, Mass. She subsequently earned her certification as an environmental educator in North Carolina, and enjoys empowering people to create an earth-friendly lifestyle that supports sustainability. She also likes creative writing, furniture upholstering, flower arranging, drawing, and dancing. She is an organic gardener, and also is an animal lover, having several cats. She spends a lot of time appreciating nature, and is especially fond of the beaches of Cape Cod, the mountains of Maine, and the rivers of North Carolina.
Donna Allison

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