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Facts to Remember
General Contractors / Design Professionals (if your contract is with the owner): File your Virginia lien within 90 days of the last furnishing of labor or materials to the project.
Subcontractors/Suppliers (if your contract is with the prime or another sub): Record the Virginia lien within 90 days of your last furnishing labor or materials to the project (your portion of the work).
Who? A mechanic’s lien in Virginia is allowed for General contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, renters of equipment, architects, engineers, and land surveyors.
Where? Clerk of the Curcuit Court (in county where work / material furnished).
How Long Does it Stay on Record? A mechanics lien in Virginia stays 6 months after recording the lien or 60 days of completion of the overall project, whichever is later. 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 Virginia 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 Virginia Law Summary: For a more detailed discussion of Virginia mechanics liens.
HOW TO FILE A VIRGINIA MECHANIC’S LIEN
Step 1. Fill-out and Print
Your information is inputted into a 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 Virginia mechanic’s lien: All work/material furnished under the base verbal or written contract plus change orders actually performed, whether signed or not. In other words, all work actually performed or materials furnished. 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 of language to use: “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 Virginia 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 Virginia lien will add in the hourly rate under the contract. If labor and material, use cost-plus or T & M amounts in the lien.
Not a good idea to include: A mechanics lien in Virginia 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.
Watch out. Including unauthorized amounts can invalidate a Virginia 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. While most notices need only be verified, a lien must be both verified and notarized.
Step 3. Look-up Recorder’s Office
Recording a mechanics lien in Virginia is at the county level, not state or city. Not sure where to record? 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.
Should a legal description be included? 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 Virginia 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 Virginia—we’ll walk you through it. (800) 995-9434; (925) 899-8449.