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Understanding Mechanic’s Liens: Deadlines and Specifics

Understanding Mechanic’s Liens: Deadlines and Specifics

A mechanic’s lien is a statutory right that protects contractors, mechanics, and other laborers from non-payment of work performed on homes and other buildings. In a previous McNeelyLaw blog post we covered the basics of mechanic’s liens. This post will discuss specific notice and filing deadlines required to secure and enforce a mechanic’s lien.

When Do I Need to File My Lien?

The date on which liens must be filed with the county recorder’s office depends on the type of project. Residential projects must be filed within 60 days from the date of last furnishing. Utilities and other projects must be filed within 90 days from the date of last furnishing. Ind. Code 32-28-3. “Date of last furnishing” refers to the last date that the laborer was onsite working on the project. Keep close track of the work you do on a project and the date on which work “ends” – as this may delay or extend your filing window.

Do I Need to Send Notice of the Lien to the Property Owner?

You only need to provide notice to a property owner that you filed a mechanic’s lien if you provided material, labor, or machinery on credit. Failure to give proper pre-lien notice could render your lien void. Notice of your intention to hold a lien is required 30 days after the material, labor, or machine is provided for the alteration or repair of an owner-occupied single or double family dwelling (a duplex), and 60 days after the material, labor, or machinery is first provided for the original construction of a single or double family dwelling. This notice is only required if the material, labor, or machine was not provided directly to the owner of the property. Providing written notice to the property owner and filing this notice with the county is a prerequisite to acquiring the lien on the property. Ind. Code § 32-28-3-1(h)-(i).

How Long is My Lien Effective?

Generally, liens are effective for 1 year after filing. This means that after you file your lien with the county, you have 1 year to enforce your rights under the lien. This is done by filing a lawsuit to foreclose on the lien. However, the property owner can provide the lien holder with a Notice to Foreclose on the property, which requires you to file a lawsuit within 30 days of receiving the Notice to Foreclose. This lawsuit must be filed in the county within which the property subject to the lien is located. If you do not file suit within 30 days after the Notice to Foreclose is received, then the mechanic’s lien is void. Ind. Code § 32-28-3-10.

What Should Be Included in a Mechanic’s Lien?

Per Ind. Code § 32-28-3-3, your filed lien must include:

  1. The amount of money you claim is owed to you;
  2. Your name and address – remember, the person or entity filing the mechanic’s lien is the person or entity who contracted with the property owner;
  3. The property owner’s name and address as shown on the property tax records of the county; and
  4. The legal description and street address (if any) of the property you are filing the lien on.

Due to the complexity of mechanic’s liens, it is recommended that you seek the help of an attorney before you file your lien to be sure you fully comply with all deadlines, requirements, and restrictions. Not just anyone can file a lien, and improperly recording a lien against someone’s property can incur serious consequences. Contact the experienced attorneys at McNeelyLaw LLP to discuss your rights and obligations under Indiana’s Mechanic’s Lien Statute.

This McNeelyLaw LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion of any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.

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