If you’re a Missouri contractor or subcontractor who has worked on a construction project and you have not been paid, you may be wondering what your options are. One option that you may have is to file a mechanics lien.
What are mechanics liens?
A mechanics lien is a legal claim that’s usually filed by contractors, subcontractors and suppliers who have not been paid for their work on a construction project. The lien gives the contractor or supplier a security interest in the property that was improved by the labor or materials that they provided. This means that if the property gets sold the proceeds from the sale must help in paying off the mechanics lien.
There are two types of mechanics liens in construction law: voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary liens get filed by the contractor or supplier at the request of the property owner. Involuntary liens are typically filed by the contractor or supplier without the request of the property owner. Mechanics liens can get filed against both commercial and residential properties.
How should you file a mechanics lien?
If you’re thinking about filing a mechanics lien, you should first send a notice of intent to the property owner. This notice indicates that you intend to file a lien and gives the property owner an opportunity to pay what’s owed.
The next step is to file the actual lien with the county recorder’s office. The lien must include certain information, such as the name of the contractor or supplier, the amount owed and a description of the work in question.
After the lien is filed, you must then serve a copy of the lien to the property owner. You can do this by mailing a copy of the lien or by delivering it in person.
If you don’t receive payment after the lien gets filed, you may then be able to foreclose on the property. This means that you would initiate a court proceeding to have the property sold in order to pay off the debt owed.
If you’re dealing with nonpayment on a construction project, a mechanics lien may be an option for you.