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General Contractors / Design Professionals (if your contract is with the owner): File an Alabama lien within 6 months of the time the debt is due.
Subcontractors/Suppliers (if your contract is with the prime or another sub): File your Alabama lien within 4 months of your last furnishing labor or materials.
Who? A mechanic’s lien in Alabama is allowed for General contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, renters of equipment, architects, engineers, and land surveyors.
Where? Judge of the Probate Court (in county where work / material furnished).
How Long Does it Stay on Record? A mechanics lien in Alabama stays 6 months after the debt is payable. A lawsuit to foreclose the lien is then required. We have templates for this.
Let Us Help: If you prefer, for the same price, we will instruct you how to fill-out the Alabama mechanic’s lien form line by line, answer questions, and give a general idea of the chances for success in enforcing the lien. (800-995-9434).
Mechanics Lien for Alabama Law Summary: For a more detailed discussion of mechanic’s liens for Alabama.
HOW TO FILE A ALABAMA MECHANIC’S LIEN
Step 1. Fill-out and Print
Complete the PDF “fillable” mechanic’s lien template. It automatically captures data and prints the lien in final form. Bonus feature: Keep on your desktop: it is re-usable for other non-paying jobs.
Amount of Alabama mechanic’s lien: All work/material furnished under the base verbal or written contract plus change orders actually performed, whether signed or not. Finance charges are allowed only if included in your contract or PO and signed by the other party. If not, you still get pre-judgment interest. But do not include specific finance charges or interest in the amount of your lien; instead express it as a possible add-on at trial. Example: “Mechanic’s lien for the principal amount of $10,550, plus finance charges / pre-judgment interest as allowed by law”. This will be awarded later if you are the prevailing party in the Alabama lien foreclosure suit.
Do not reduce for freebies or discounts, as they were contingent on being paid. With non-payment, it is no longer legal consideration for a contract modification in which the owner receives a reduced price. Example: In a kitchen remodel, for good customer relations you supplied some extras free: a) a 48 bottle built-in wine cellar and b) painted the adjoining dining room with a coat of base and semi-gloss. Then you never got paid the last installment on the contract. If you supplied labor only, your Alabama lien will add in the hourly rate under the contract. If labor and material, use cost-plus or T & M amounts in the lien.
Do not include: A mechanics lien in Alabama should not include: court costs and attorneys’ fees (included later if you win at trial for breach of contract); lost profits if terminated from the job; delay or impact damages; lost time or business interruption; or anything else not constituting actual labor and materials improving the property.
Be careful. Including unauthorized amounts can invalidate an Alabama mechanics lien. Call us if you have any questions.
Step 2. Sign and Notarize
Signed by anyone who has knowledge of the general services rendered and the costs incurred. It does not have to be someone in the field—in other words, it can be by office personnel. For example, this could be a manager, bookkeeper, controller, job foreman, project manager, owner, co-owner, or partner. All recorded documents must be notarized.
Step 3. Look-up Recorder’s Office
Recording a mechanics lien in Alabama is at the county level, not state or city. See “Where?” above for the name of your State’s recorder. Do a Google search for the county in which the project is located. Example: “[Name] County Clerk Recorder Register of Deeds”. Call to verify the fee and recorder’s address. Give them the city where the work was done–sometimes it is filed in different branch offices. If you don’t know the county, Google the city—even small towns have a Wikipedia listing describing the county. Use the cover letter provided. Send the original and one copy with a stamped self-addressed return envelope.
Legal description required? Most counties don’t require it, but if they do, we will look it up for free with any purchase.
Step 4. Mail
Regular mail to the recorder. Overnight if close to the filing deadline. If a general contractor, serve the Alabama mechanics lien on the owner with a copy certified mail. If a sub or supplier, serve the owner and general with a copy certified mail. Fill-out and staple as the last page the Proof of Service (it shows proof of mailing to the owner and/or general contractor).
Call us if you have any questions about a mechanics lien in Alabama—we’ll walk you through it. (800) 995-9434; (925) 899-8449.