Who Can File a Lien?

Although the New York construction industry often associates lien rights with general contractors, the truth is that mechanic’s lien protection is quite broad. In addition to contractors, it extends to:

  • Subcontractors
  • Construction workers
  • Materials suppliers
  • Landscape gardeners
  • Nurserymen or sellers of ornamental or fruit trees, shrubbery, rose bushes, vines, and small fruit

In short, nearly anyone who supplies labor or materials for the construction or improvement of real property is allowed to file a mechanics lien in New York. There are some exceptions, however.

Who Cannot File a Lien?

In New York, all lien claimants must be licensed to do the work they carried out, should a license be required, and they must be authorized to do business in the state. If they lack the necessary licensure and/or authorization to carry out business in New York, they cannot make a lien claim. Suppliers to the project’s suppliers are also unable to file a mechanic’s lien.

Private Projects on Public Land

There can also be complications when the construction project is owned by a private party but located on public land. In this situation, the project owner is likely renting the land from a public entity, which means that the work is not entitled to lien rights.

This scenario is more common than one might initially assume. Cities, counties, and even states often lease public land to private companies – such as when airports lease to vendors. These private companies can hire professionals to complete necessary work; however, when they don’t pay the invoices, contractors, subcontractors, and other approved claimants find themselves in a situation that will call for experienced legal advice.

Filing a Mechanic’s Lien in New York

The filing deadline for lien claimants depends on the project type. In general, they may file at any time while the project is in progress and within eight months after

  • Contract completion OR
  • Final furnishing of labor or materials OR
  • Final performance of the work

If the project involved a single-family home, the lien may be filed during the project or within four months of one of the above criteria. Brokerage commission liens must be filed after all services have been provided and no more than eight months after the lease has been executed.

Once you confirm that you have the standing to file a mechanic’s lien in New York, seeking the assistance of experienced legal counsel is recommended. Lien law is very precise, and what appears to be a harmless mistake could damage an entire claim. In one controversial case, the Supreme Court of New York invalidated a mechanics lien because the claimant’s time contained a minor misspelling.

At NYLiens LLC we have the background and experience to ensure that your New York mechanic’s lien is completed correctly, filed within the appropriate time frame, and pursued in a way that improves your chances of getting the money you are entitled to. We work with all lien claimants, so to schedule a consultation and case review, please contact us.

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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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