Construction & Mechanic’s Liens
The Law Offices of Kevin J. Dolley have significant construction law experience and have helped contractors and other construction industry professionals with the filing, enforcement, and defense against the many different types of construction-related liens, including:
- Mechanic’s liens
- Architect, engineer, landscape architect and surveyor liens
- Landscape contractor and supplier liens
- Demolition contractor liens
- Commercial real estate broker liens
- Liens on leased or licensed property
Various Missouri laws and regulations govern these types of liens. See § 429.005, et seq. RSMo. No matter the dispute or type of lien at issue, we can help advise you regarding your legal rights and obligations in light of your particular interests and goals.
The Process for Mechanic’s Liens
Construction or mechanic’s liens seek to ensure payment for services and material provided to a construction project. Such a lien allows a contractor to assert partial ownership in improved property if not timely and properly compensated, so that the property in question cannot be sold or otherwise liquidated prior to payment and satisfaction of the lien(s) by the property owner.
Contractors, subcontractors, laborers, and material suppliers have the ability under Missouri law to assert a mechanic’s lien for labor and materials provided to a property, provided the lien is timely and properly filed. Missouri statute addresses many issues related to mechanic’s liens, including but not limited to what type of work and what type of properties may be involved with or subject to a lien. See § 429.010, et seq. RSMo. The statutes and case law covering this area are extensive and complex and the requirements can vary greatly between general contractors and subcontractors.
Whether you are a contractor or subcontractor, courts demand that the lien procedures be followed meticulously for a lien to be valid and enforceable. Under Missouri law, there are timing, description, notice, and filing requirements that, if executed incorrectly, can render an entire lien void. If these procedures are not carefully followed, courts can void (and have voided) liens, even where the mistaken or misapplied procedures did not prejudice the other party.
Many other types of issues arise in the process of filing for a lien. For example, if the underlying improvements leading to the lien were to contiguous lots or buildings on contiguous lots under a general contract, it typically is not necessary to file a separate lien for each building or lot. § 429.040 RSMo. However, there are more than seventy (70) years of Missouri case law construing what is meant just as to the term “contiguous.” See, e.g., Roy F. Stamm Elec. Co. v. Hamilton-Brown Shoe Co., 171 S.W.2d 580, 581-85 (Mo. banc 1943).
By way of another example, when multiple lots or tracts are encompassed by one lien, the person holding the lien may be allowed to release some of the lots from the lien without surrendering the entire claim as to all lots. See § 429.032 RSMo. However, this is only true in certain situations and after specific procedures have been followed. Id.
Ultimately, liens are critical to ensure financial protection for contractors, subcontractors, and others who have allocated time, materials, and/or workers with the expectation of final payment. Further, if a lien is properly filed and handled according to the procedures set out under Missouri law, it may help to put pressure on a party to pay the amounts owed. The attorneys with our Firm know the laws, issues, and interests at stake in such scenarios and can help advise and guide you through the lien process.
If you are seeking to discuss construction-related liens like a mechanic's lien, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm directly at 314-645-4100 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org