What Happens When a Lien Expires?

Mechanic’s liens can be highly effective enforcement tools. If you aren’t paid for your work on a construction project, you file a notice in the county records and create a lien on the property. In the short term, this claim can prevent the owner from selling the property or using it for loan collateral, which may create enough of a problem for them to pay what they owe. In the long term, it allows you to collect your outstanding invoices by forcing the sale of the liened property.

In New York, a mechanic’s lien is effective for one year from the filing date. Unlike many other states, the law allows you to file an extension that makes your lien effective for another year, but what if the deadline passes without an extension being granted?

Once It’s Gone, It’s Gone

Unfortunately, if your mechanic’s lien has expired, there is little that you can do to resurrect your claim. An expired lien is no longer valid and therefore unenforceable. This is why it is so important to file for an extension if you’re not prepared to foreclose within the one-year window. It’s also important to remember that letting the lien expire won’t make it automatically disappear from the record. It will sit there, discoverable and encumbering the property even if it’s no longer valid, so if you’ve received payment or let the lien expire, the best thing to do is release it.

Why Should You Release an Expired Lien?

New York lien law doesn’t specifically state a deadline for releasing the lien. In this respect, it differs from other states, which require a lienor to release their claim within 10 to 60 days after receiving payment or upon receipt of a written request from the payer. However, this doesn’t mean that you can leave it there indefinitely,

The problem is that if the lien expires or is paid off and you don’t release it, it will remain visible to anyone doing a title search on the property and create problems for the property owner, who may file a lawsuit against you for slandering the title. The court may conclude that if the lien has formally expired but is still of record, it is frivolous and you are liable for any damages that may result, in addition to the owner’s court costs and attorney fees.

The message is clear: if you’ve decided not to pursue a mechanic’s lien, release it, or you could face future problems of your own.

Work With a New York Mechanic’s Lien Provider

If the deadline for your claim is approaching and you still haven’t been paid, filing a Notice of Intent to Foreclose can yield results surprisingly fast. The project owner knows that you mean business and that if they don’t comply, the next step could be the forced sale of the property.

At NYLiens LLC, we will help you preserve and act on your claim before an expiry date renders it invalid. Once you receive payment or decide not to pursue the matter, we will show you how to release it so that future problems don’t arise. For more information, please contact us or call 718-444-LIEN.

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For over a decade, NYLiens LLC has prepared and filed Notice of Mechanic’s Lien documents for all types of contractors and suppliers throughout New York State.

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