What is a Mechanic’s Liens and How Does It Work?

If you have provided construction services or materials to a property, and have not been paid, you are likely entitled to a mechanic’s lien against that property. A mechanic’s lien, like a deed of trust or mortgage, can be foreclosed if payment is not received.

There are some important aspects to a mechanic’s liens that must be met before the lien can be foreclosed if not paid. The following items must happen in order to legally preserve a lien in the State of Utah.

1. File Your Preliminary Notice in a Timely Manner: A Preliminary Notice must be filed with the State Construction Registry (SCR) within 20 days from first providing construction services or materials. You may file online by going to http://scr.utah.gov.

2. Record Your Lien in a Timely  Manner: A lien claimant has 90 days after a notice of completion is filed with the SCR or 180 days after final completion of the original contract to record a mechanic’s lien. Final completion of the original contract is the date of the Certificate of Occupancy is issued, if required. If no Certificate of Occupancy is required, then the date of the final inspection; or if there is no final inspection, the date of last substantial work on the project. These deadlines are strictly enforced and need to be observed when preserving a lien.

3. Include Correct Information in Your Lien: Your notice of lien must state: (1) the name of the owner of the property; (2) the name of the person by whom the lien was employed or to whom the claimant furnished the equipment or materials; (3) the time when first and last labor or materials were provided to the property; (4) a description of the property, usually includes the address, parcel number and legal description; (5) the name, current address, and current phone number of the lien claimant; (6) the amount of the lien claim; (7) signature of the lien claimant or the claimant’s authorized agent; (8) a notarization; and (9) if the property is an owner-occupied residence, there must be a statement describing what steps an owner may take to require a lien claimant to remove the lien.

4. Within 30 days of the filing of your Notice of Lien, you must deliver or certify mail a copy of the Notice of Lien to the owner fo the property. Failure to provide the Notice of Lien in a timely manner will not bar your ability to enforce it; however, you will not be able to recover your costs and attorney fees associated with enforcing it.

5. Enforce Your Lien in a Timely Manner: To enforce the a lien foreclosure action in court against the property which you recorded the lien. The timing requirements must be followed in order to enforce your lien. The action must be brought within 180 days from the recording date on your Notice of Lien. If this 180 day deadline is missed, the lien is void. Once you have recorded your lien, consult an experienced construction attorney to help you foreclose your lien and get payment for the construction services or materials you provided.

Still have questions about a specific case? Don’t hesitate to call us at 801.365.1030.