Do I need a lawyer to file or remove a mechanic’s lien in Connecticut?

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Answered by: Neal L. Moskow

Located in Fairfield, CTUry & Moskow, LLC

Fairfield, CT
Phone: 203-610-6393
Fax: 203-610-6399

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Mechanic’s liens allow contractors, subcontractors or material suppliers to get paid for work they have performed by recording a lien against the property they worked on or where their materials have been. Proper filing of a lien must account for who can file a lien, when the lien can be filed, and who should be served with the recorded lien. The lien must be prepared correctly in order to be effective and survive a challenge from the owner. Hiring a lawyer with experience in preparing, litigating and challenging mechanic’s lien claims is a good practice because doing it yourself, or using an online service, may leave you without a proper claim against the property – or may create a defense to that claim. An attorney can help you take advantage of the law whether you’re the contractor, material supplier or owner. Ury & Moskow, LLC’s attorneys have filed, foreclosed and challenged hundreds of mechanic’s liens over the last two and half decades. Our attorneys are recognized for their construction law knowledge and experience.

Connecticut law requires that a lien be filed with the town clerk within 90 days after the contractor stops performing work, materials or services; the claimant must also serve a true and attested copy of the certificate on the property owner, and other affected parties. The 90-day time requirement also applies to service of the lien. If the deadline is missed, the right to file the lien is forfeited. In other words, a lien that is filed too late is unenforceable and is grounds for having the lien discharged in court. There are also complicated rules concerning how and when the lien must be served on the owner, general contractor, tenant or others involved in the matter, and an attorney like those at Ury & Moskow can help you navigate these legal requirements.

It is important to keep in mind that a mechanic’s lien is merely security for the contractor’s claim, which still must be proven in court: a mechanic’s lien does not provide a guarantee to payment. Where litigation to foreclose the lien ensues, the owner/contractor may well have defenses to the action, which may preclude payment, and such litigation is likely to be costly and time-consuming. For example, an owner who pays the contractor in good faith is entitled to credit for all monies paid up to the amount of the contract. So, if the owner paid the contractor in full but the subcontractors or material suppliers did not get their share, the owner has a defense to their mechanic’s liens. You can avoid the most common pitfalls and/or take advantage of the law that puts you in the best position to succeed by hiring a qualified attorney to review your case and either file a proper mechanic’s lien that will increase the likelihood of getting paid for your work, or who knows the law and how to remove the lien from your property. The lawyers at Ury & Moskow can help you do both.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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