Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mechanics Liens In NYS: Easy To Create, A Bitch To Enforce Or Defend

In New York City, attorney Victor M. Metsch writes in Thomson Reuters News & Insight:

  • Your sub-contractor client has not been paid for work, labor and materials on a real estate construction job. She sends you copies of the sub-contract, a summary of the work done and the invoices. She asks you to prepare and file a mechanic’s lien.

  • Seems simple enough - take a standard pre-prepared form, fill in the blanks and file the lien. Nothing to it! Of course, that was the easy part. Identifying possible defenses to a mechanic’s lien [under New York law] goes far beyond the narrow confines of the [New York State] Lien Law. And defending the lien, if challenged, may give you—and your client—angina.

  • How can anything that, at the outset, seemed so uncomplicated, become so complex, time-consuming and expensive from both a prosecution and defense vantage point? Let’s take a look at some recent [New York] decisions that sustained, vacated or otherwise adjudicated mechanic’s liens.


  • Once a mechanic’s lien is filed, an action to foreclose must be commenced before the time limit to do so expires. Then, if the property owner defends, the real action begins.

For more, see Mechanics’ liens: Easy to file and a challenge to enforce or defend.

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