Bowie & Jensen's, a Leading Business Law Firm, Michael W. Siri Gives Tips on Mechanic's Liens

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"Everyone contractor should know the basics regarding mechanic’s lien in Maryland, including timing of bringing forth a claim, notice to parties, and other considerations," said Bowie & Jensen Partner Michael Siri. "The following list consists of some of the basic considerations that any party to a potential mechanic’s lien should consider."

Michael W. Siri, Bowie & Jensen, a leading business law firm

Subcontractors must provide a notice of intent to lien a property within 120 days from the last day they performed work or supplied materials on the project.

Real estate markets were exceptionally strong for a substantial period of time. Now that the economy has slowed, builders are facing the harsh reality that their projects are not selling quickly, if at all. This leaves the builders holding an inventory of completed homes, which ties up a large percentage of the income on which they rely in order to pay their laborers, subcontractors and materialmen.

The materialmen deliver their goods and subcontractors complete their work but, when they ask for payment, some builders cannot pay and a mechanic's lien is an unavoidable course of action, says Michael Siri, a partner in Bowie & Jensen's construction law practice. Bowie & Jensen is a leading business law firm in Towson, Maryland.

A mechanic's lien is a claim against the property or homeowner for work performed or materials furnished for or about the home. The purpose of the law is to encourage construction and home improvements -- by assuring payment to contractors, laborers and material suppliers, by letting them put a lien on the house if their bill isn't paid. But contractors must be careful to follow procedures.

"Everyone contractor should know the basics regarding mechanic’s lien in Maryland, including timing of bringing forth a claim, notice to parties, and other considerations," said Bowie & Jensen Partner Michael Siri. "The following list consists of some of the basic considerations that any party to a potential mechanic’s lien should consider."

"Anyone who needs to establish or enforce a mechanic's lien should consult a lawyer who is experienced in such issues," added Mr. Siri.

·     Timing – In Maryland, a contractor or subcontractor must bring a mechanic’s lien claim within 180 days from the last day they performed work or supplied materials on the project.

·     Notice – Subcontractors must provide a notice of intent to lien a property within 120 days from the last day they performed work or supplied materials on the project.

·     Lienable Properties – In Maryland, mechanic’s liens can be placed on non-public new construction or renovations that increased the value of the property by 15%. A contractor cannot bring a claim against public property.

·     Waiver of Mechanic’s Lien Provisions – Maryland, unlike Virginia and Washington D.C., does not permit the waiver of a mechanic’s lien provision in a contract. As a result, if the contract states that a contractor has waived its right to bring a mechanic’s lien claim in Maryland, it may be unenforceable.

·     Protecting against Mechanic’s Lien – obtaining lien releases for work performed and materials furnished will protest owners and contractors from mechanic’s liens.

·     Information necessary in a Petition for Mechanic’s Lien includes:

o Name and address of the petitioner

o Name and address of the owner

o The nature or kind of work performed or materials furnished

o A description of the land and building

o Evidence of notice to owner, if the Petitioner is a subcontractor

o Affidavit by the Petitioner confirming the facts and amounts at issue

o Copies or originals of all material papers

"These are the basics considerations to review when dealing with a mechanic’s lien in Maryland," said Mr. Siri. "All cases are different and will require specific analysis dependent on the facts and other potential issues."

For additional information, contact Michael W. Siri at siri@bowie-jensen.com.

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