Who gets served with a copy of your mechanic’s lien?
Recording or filing your mechanic’s lien with the recorder or clerk of the court is only the first step. It must also be served on the other interested parties. With few exceptions, almost all states allow the service of the mechanics lien to be made by certified mail, as opposed to having to go to the time and expense of hiring a process server or state marshal.
Here are some of the issues to remember:
1 For general contractors, you are only required to serve the owner.
2 For first tier subcontractors and suppliers having a contract with the prime, you serve the owner and general contractor.
3 For second-tier subcontractors and suppliers, you serve your immediate subcontractor, the general, and the owner.
Sounds very simple and to the point. But we are asked frequently if other persons should be served as well. Absolutely. Here are other persons or entities that could be served by regular mail (certified mail “freaks people out” and is unnecessary) with that mechanic’s lien form:
- If you are working with a large chain, such as a department store, large franchise, major corporation, or a company that has many branches, it is always a good idea to serve a copy on a management level person in the main office.
- If you have been dealing with the project manager and this person has a boss in the corporate office, serve that person as well.
- The landlord if you are doing tenant improvement
- Be careful as to the owner. Sometimes the real owner of the property is a corporation or division of another company. Make sure it goes up the chain of command to the “head honcho”.
- The property management company who may be overseeing the payment of construction fees.
- A real estate broker, if you suspect the property is about to be sold.
- A title company if you think there is an imminent chance of closing an escrow.