Mechanic’s Lien Update–Who Gets Served?
When a mechanic’s lien is filed or recorded with the clerk of the court in the county in which the property is located, or in some states, the recorder’s office, it becomes a matter of public record. This means that title companies, buyers and sellers, realtors, and other persons have access to this information. They can receive it either by going to the archives of the clerk’s office or retaining the services of an escrow or title company. But how about serving it on others?
By statute in almost every state, you have to do more than simply record the mechanic’s lien. You must also serve it upon the owner of record. And if you are a subcontractor or supplier, upon the prime or general contractor.
This is typically done by certified mail. In other words, on the same day in which you record the mechanics lien, is a good idea to swing by the post office and send a copy certified mail. Do it the old-fashioned way with the green receipt so you have actual signatures from the recipient. Remember, judges tend to be old-fashioned and they like this system, as opposed to the electronic or online certified mail systems.
But there is a minority of states that require (for example Pennsylvania) personal service of the mechanic’s lien with a file stamp on it. You can call us and we will let you know the applicable state.
But what about serving other people? You can literally give copies of the mechanic’s lien to anyone you wish, whether a title company, realtor, other departments operated by the owner or other recipients. It is not slander of title or defamation because you are simply giving persons a copy of a mechanic’s lien that you had the legal right to record. And sometimes getting this to other persons or departments engenders your ability to get paid.