Which professionals can obtain a property lien over unpaid work?

On Behalf of | Nov 26, 2023 | Construction

There is an inevitable degree of tension between property owners that need work done and the professionals providing services. Clients do not want to risk losing their resources by paying in full before the completion of the project. Professionals don’t want to risk doing labor without compensation.

Frequently, the solution involves the client paying a deposit at the beginning of the project. Professionals’ contracts with their clients usually outline when the client must pay the remainder of the balance due. Oftentimes, they will have to pay within a set number of days after the completion of work. Other times, they may agree to a payment arrangement where they pay the remaining balance over several months.

Unfortunately, not all clients follow through with that obligation and may leave professionals without the pay that they deserve for the services rendered or the supplies delivered for the project. Requesting a mechanic’s lien can be a viable solution for an assortment of different professionals who have done work on a property.

Who has grounds to request a mechanic’s lien?

New York actually provides relatively broad professional protection related to construction work. Like in most states, mechanic’s liens are available to construction firms, contractors and subcontractors who do actual work on the project. Additionally, those who provide materials for a project can also pursue a lien. The law in New York even includes landscaping professionals and those who work at nurseries that have provided trees and other plants for a project.

Even when a client has paid the main construction company in full, subcontractors and suppliers not paid by that business can potentially request a mechanic’s lien. The lien will prevent the property owner from refinancing or selling the property without first paying what they owe. Lien enforcement efforts can even force someone to sell or refinance the property to ensure the prompt repayment of the professionals denied full compensation for their services or supplies.

There are strict statutes of limitations that apply to mechanic’s lien cases, so professionals need to act quickly to assert their rights under New York law. Professionals need to act within eight months of the completion of the project or risk losing their risk to request a lien. Taking the right steps can help ensure that professionals receive the pay they deserve for the services and materials provided for a project.