Anyone can file a mechanic’s lien by filling out a form and delivering it to the clerk of court’s office. The clerk of court employees who process liens are required to record all liens presented to them, without making any decision about whether the lien is valid, or whether the construction work was done properly. In fact, someone could theoretically file a mechanic’s lien against your property without having any connection to it whatsoever.
In recognition of this problem, each state has a procedure for property owners, prime contractors, lenders or other interested parties to challenge the validity of a mechanic’s lien. If an improper lien is filed, the law provides a way to have it removed from the public records.
Lien laws are technical and complex, and there are a number of reasons why a mechanic’s lien may be invalid. In fact, a large percentage of liens contain at least one error that could invalidate the entire instrument. If you think a lien filed against your property or project is illegal or invalid, you have rights to dispute that lien. You can send a notice to the party who filed the lien demanding that it be removed, and if that fails, you can file suit to force the lien’s removal.
Smiley Law Firm has experience handling lien removals, and can represent you in a lawsuit involving the removal of a lien (click here to learn about our flat fee to represent you in these matters). Or, you may not be quite ready to proceed with a full lien challenge in court, but may simply want to send the lien claimant a letter explaining why the lien is invalid and demanding its removal.
These lien removal demands are important because they:
Sometimes are required by statute
Will identify the reasons for invalidity, putting the other party on notice
Give the lien filer a chance to voluntarily remove the lien, which improves your chances to recover attorney fees if they refuse
Sometimes resolve the dispute with a simple demand letter, preventing you from spending more in future legal fees
If you believe an invalid or illegal lien has been filed against your property or your company, Smiley Law Firm can review the lien, discuss potential issues with you, and then proceed to deliver a demand letter requesting the lien get removed. No large retainer is required – we perform all this work for a small flat fee.