In our last post, we began looking at the topic of mechanic’s liens, not only as to their importance for contractors, but also as to the general requirements for perfecting and filing a lien. There are also specific requirements for enforcing a lien on real property.
Specific requirements apply with respect to the place and timing of enforcing a lien. As far as timing, an action to enforce a lien may not be filed more than 180 days after the completion of furnishing labor or materials by the individual claiming the lien. Not missing that deadline is important to ensure a contractor doesn’t relinquish his or her rights.
A lien holder is, by law, entitled to the amount shown to be due on the claim, and a court may order the sale of the property to satisfy the lien. Before a sale can be initiated to satisfy a lien, proper notice must be provided in each applicable county and within the proper time. Proper procedure, as laid out in state statute, must also be followed in executing the sale.
The sale of property to satisfy a lien does not necessarily have to take place after a judgment is issued. In cases where there is a risk of “substantial waste, destruction, depreciation or other damage” to the property, a judge may order the sale of the property prior to judgment. This can help ensure that a contractor is able to recoup expenses put into the property.
Navigating real property liens is not necessarily a complicated process, but it is important for contractors to work with an experienced attorney to ensure they have zealous advocacy in their case. A skilled attorney can help give a contractor the best shot at recouping expenses on a project where communication between the property owner and the contractor has broken down.