Missouri Construction Law and Mechanics' Liens Attorney
What is a Mechanics' Lien?
Construction attorney Kevin J. Dolley represents contractors in filing and enforcing mechanics' liens. A mechanics lien is a way to ensure payment to general contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers for providing work and materials. If filed correctly and the contractor filing the lien is not paid for the time, work, and materials expended, that contractor can have a court enforce the lien. At that time, the lien holder can sell the covered property and recuperate the amount that was owed. In some situations all of this can be done by a subcontractor even though the general contractor has been paid by the owners of the construction project.
Why File a Mechanics' Lien?
Under Missouri law, a contractor is allowed to assert an interest in real property until he is paid for the work expended. Often times a contractor puts out time, materials, and workers in the expectation of being paid. If they are not paid, they risk putting their company in a bad financial position. This could sometimes lead, especially in expensive projects, to the contractor having to close its doors. In order to prevent this, contractors, especially subcontractors, should file a lien on the improved property.
The most common situation where this is necessary is when a general contractor is paid by the owner of the improved property, but the general contractor never pays the subcontractor. If the subcontractor then files a lien according to the procedures set out under Missouri law, then they can enforce the lien and recover what is owed to them by selling the property. While this creates a double liability for the owner, it assures that all contractors are paid for their time and efforts.
Filing and Enforcing Construction Liens in the State of Missouri
Missouri's Mechanics' liens laws (RsMO Chapter 429) give financial protection to those who provide labor and materials to improve real property. However, the statutes and case law covering this area are extensive and complex and the requirements are drastically different for general contractors and subcontractors. To name a few of the complexities, there are timing, description, notice, and filing requirements that, if executed incorrectly, can render an entire lien void.
Further, if the underlying improvements leading to the lien were to contiguous lots or buildings on contiguous lots under a general contract, it typically isn't necessary to file a separate lien for each building or lot. However, there are more than fifty years of Missouri case law construing what is meant by the term contiguous. Also, when multiple lots or tracts are encompassed by one lien, the person holding the lien is allowed to release less than all of the lots from the lien without surrendering the entire claim. However, this may hold true only in certain situations and after specific procedures have been followed.
Missouri Construction Law Attorney
If you wish to protect your interests and would like to file, enforce, or litigate the enforceability of a mechanics' lien, contact construction lawyer Kevin J. Dolley online
or at 314-450-7883.