How long should you wait before filing a mechanic’s lien?
Many of you probably already know the answer. Simply look up the law of your state and find the last date to file. Then simply file a few days before. We must respectfully disagree. File the mechanics lien well before the deadline.
There is rarely a legitimated reason for waiting more than 45 days after completion and nonpayment. This is a safe bet, because no state in the union has a filing date of less than 60 days. Quite frankly, it doesn’t get any better by waiting. And make sure this is a uniform rules throughout the office–everyone should be instructed to file the mechanics lien within that time period.
There are few exceptions:
- Be careful if a Notice of Completion has been filed or recorded. This will shorten the time. For example, if you are a subcontractor or supplier in California and the notice of completion is filed with the county recorder’s office, you have only 30 days to file the mechanics lien. In Alaska, subs and suppliers only have 15 days after filing the notice of completion.
- Also be wary of receiving a notice that demands the early filing of the mechanic’s lien. For example, in Georgia, generals and subcontractors have to file their mechanic’s lien within ten days of service of a demand.
- Remember, the nature of the project can also affect the time. Many states shorten that time if there is residential construction. For example, in Texas, it is the 15th day of the third month after unpaid services for residential, as opposed to the fourth month for commercial. In Colorado, it is two months after completion of a project for residential, as opposed to four months for commercial.
The other benefit of filing hurry early is the other parties take you more seriously. After all, this is the best approach to collecting your receivables.