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General Contractors / Design Professionals (if your contract is with the owner):
Residential: As against the owner, the general need not file a lien–he or she can simply file suit to foreclose lien rights. As against third parties (for example mortgage holders), the prime must record the lien within 90 days of completing the job or with 10 days of recording a notice of completion.
Commercial: As against the owner, the general need not file a lien–he or she can simply file suit to foreclose lien rights. As against third parties (for example mortgage holders), the prime must record the lien within 90 days of completing the job or with 30 days of recording a notice of completion.
Subcontractors/Supplier (if your contract is with the prime or another sub):
Residential: No lien rights.
Commercial: Record the Tennessee lien within 90 days of completion of the overall project or within 30 days of recording a notice of completion.
Who? A mechanic’s lien in Tennessee is allowed for General contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, renters of equipment, architects, engineers, and land surveyors.
Where? Registrar of Deeds (in county where work / material furnished).
How Long Does it Stay on Record? A mechanics lien in Tennessee stays 1 year after completion for a general contractor and 90 days after recording the lien for subs and suppliers. 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 Tennessee 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 Tennessee Law Summary: For a more detailed discussion of Tennessee mechanics liens.
HOW TO FILE A TENNESSEE 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 Tennessee 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 Tennessee lien foreclosure suit.
Do not reduce for customer discounts—it is rarely productive when it comes to being paid the final draw and you can actually lose respect in the process. You are not bound by initially agreeing to perform items without charge–this was 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: While performing tenant improvement work on a small shopping center, in a gesture of good faith you furnish the following extras without charge: a) candilever overhang for the store front, b) replacing faux brick veneer panels on the south wall with more expensive limestone, and c) a small retaining wall (together with drain rock, filter fabric and drainage) on the slope above the rear parking lot. Then you never got paid the last installment on the contract. If you supplied labor only, your Tennessee 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 Tennessee 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 the interruption; or anything else not constituting actual labor and materials improving the property.
Be careful. Including unauthorized amounts can invalidate a Tennessee 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 Tennessee 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 Tennessee 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 Tennessee—we’ll walk you through it. (800) 995-9434; (925) 899-8449.