New York Mechanics Lien.What—No Pre-lien?

 In most states, filing a mechanic’s lien is the last step in a longer process. Typically you must first file a pre-lien notice near the beginning of the project. In other states, you must serve a notice of intent to lien approximately ten days before the actual recordation of that mechanics lien.  Mercifully, a New York lien dispenses with such requirements. But you must still be careful of the technicalities of a mechanic’s lien in New York. Let’s go over them briefly.

 First, there is a distinction between a New York mechanic’s lien for private projects and a New York lien for public or municipal jobs (city, county, or state). This brief article discusses the private sector.

 A mechanics lien in New York on private projects covers the whole gamut, whether residential, commercial, or industrial. Anything from a single family residence, duplex, condominium project, subdivision, apartment complex, shopping mall, warehouse–you name it. Everything that is privately owned or as said in the trade–making an improvement on “private dirt”.

 The New York mechanic’s lien goes against the ownership interest in both the land and improved structures.  It also covers contiguous or adjacent land that is necessary or convenient for the use of the structure(s) being improved.  For example, a contractor works on a ten acre estate consisting of a long driveway, retaining wall, and bridge, including necessary component’s such as grading, compaction, asphalt, and drainage. This all leads to the top of the hill where the residence is located.  A mechanics lien in New York will be against the entire parcel, including the area comprising the residence.

 The actual title of a New York lien is called: “Notice Under Mechanic’s Lien Law for Account of Private Improvement.”

 That New York lien can be recorded by a number of claimants, including design professionals, general contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, laborers, and lessors of construction equipment.

 Unlike other states that limit remote tiers, this state allows a New York mechanic’s lien for anyone working on the project, even if you are a 5th tier sub or supplier.  The only exception is that you cannot be a “supplier to a supplier”.  Example:  a manufacturer of a diesel engine which is sold to a wholesale supplier which is then purchased by a subcontractor–installing it in the flooring of a factory. The original supplier would not be entitled to a New York lien.

 Although state courts have allowed New York mechanics liens for union trust funds, the Federal courts have stricken down this entitlement.

 So, even though filing a mechanics lien in New York seems to be transparently simple, you must still be wary of these legal requirements.

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