Northern Virginia Mechanic’s Liens

Construction projects, and even small house jobs, contain numerous moving parts. Property owners, general contractors, subcontractors, and others work together to bring the project to completion. Lots of money changes hands during the process, and sometimes, there are disputes. When a laborer or supplier is not paid, he or she can file a mechanic’s lien against the property. Filing a lien is the first step in this legal route.

PJI Law represents people on both sides of mechanic’s liens. If you have yet to be paid and need to take legal action, our Northern Virginia mechanic’s lien attorneys will guide you through the process. We can also help if you have had a lien filed against your property.

Components Of A Mechanic’s Lien

A valid memorandum of a mechanic’s lien must contain all the necessary information. This information includes:

Timeline After Filing a Mechanic’s Lien

Mechanic’s liens are only enforceable if you follow-up with filing a lawsuit. Typically you must file a lawsuit within 60 days of completing the project or within six months of filing the lien, whichever date is later. If the debtor does not pay the money in full, the lawsuit will move forward.

The lien might be bonded off, giving the debtor more time to pay. This generally extends the deadline by six months. Once the debt is paid in full, you will release the lien. A Northern Virginia mechanic’s lien attorney can help you with the entire process, from preparing and filing the lien to discharging it after payment.

Deadlines for Mechanic’s Liens

Virginia law has two main deadlines in place for mechanic’s liens. This can be confusing, causing some people to lose the chance to recoup the money. First, there is a 90-day deadline to file a lien. As a general rule you have 90 days from completing the project or 90 days from the last day of the month that you provided materials or labor, whichever comes first. For instance, if you furnish supplies and labor on June 16, you will have 90 days from June 30 to file the lien unless the project ends sooner.

The second deadline is referred to as the 150-day rule. You cannot file a lien for money owed on materials or labor you provided more than 150 days ago. For example, assume you provide labor at the beginning of a project. It’s going to be an ongoing project, and you have yet to be compensated. Once the 150 days pass, you cannot go back and file a lien for that work. However, you may have alternative legal options in that scenario that your attorney can explain to you.

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Can Owners Be Forced to Pay Twice?

The owner is only required to make one payment for labor and materials. Often, the owner pays the general contractor, and the general contractor fails to pay subcontractors. If the owner made the payment before receiving the notice of the lien, he or she could use that as a defense. The court will not force the owner to pay twice. However, if the owner continued to pay the general contractor after receiving the lien, he or she can still be on the hook for the money owed to the subcontractors.

Frivolous Mechanic’s Liens

Some mechanic’s liens are frivolous or include overstated amounts. For example, the contractor might increase the value of the lien by adding attorney’s fees or money owed for another property. If someone has filed a frivolous or overvalued mechanic’s lien against your property, you can take legal action. A Northern Virginia mechanic’s lien attorney will go over your legal options.

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