What Are Some Common Errors on Mechanic’s Liens?

One of the most common errors on mechanic’s liens is simply not including all of the required information in the lien. For example, the person filing the lien may not property name all property owners. Although a contractor may be working with an individual, the property may be owned by a company or trust. It would be that company or trust that must be named in the lien, and my simply naming the individual the lien is not valid. Alternatively, if there are multiple owners of the property, each of the owners must be named. This might be a married couple, or there may be multiple owners because the property was inherited and several family members own the property. Whatever the reason, it is important that all owners be properly named on the mechanic’s lien.

Another common error is to not include the full or proper legal description for the property. It is not enough to simply identify the property by address, but rather the mechanic’s lien must include the full legal description. A legal description is what is used to identify properties in recorded documents, such as deeds, mortgages, deeds of trust, etc. It is not the address. Moreover, it should be noted that the legal description that is available on the tax assessor’s website is a condensed legal description and is not the actual legal description in most instances. As such, when filing a lien, the filer must check the property records to pull the full legal description from an old deed or mortgage (or obtain a title report) prior to filing.

Another one of the more common errors on mechanic’s liens is to forget to include the itemized description of the work that was performed. This is usually done by attaching a statement or invoice; however, if the statement or invoice is not itemized, the lien itself must include an itemization of the work performed. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that the homeowner has reasonable notice of the work for which the contractor alleges non-payment. If this is not included, the lien is invalid.

Other errors include not filing the lien in a timely fashion or failing to send the appropriate pre-lien notices prior to filing.

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