You’re a contractor, subcontractor or material supplier, and you’re unpaid on a project. Instantly, your thoughts focus on the mechanics lien concept. It’s the natural law in the construction industry.
Now, I’m the first to tell you that filing a mechanics lien is one of the best methods of collecting construction debt, and it’s certainly important to think about filing a construction lien as soon as you’re faced with a non-paying customer. But, being prepared and qualified to file a lien takes discipline.
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times….lien laws are complex and hyper-technical. Across the country, lien laws protect contractors and suppliers by providing them the right to lien non-paying projects. Likewise, though, the laws protect property owners to prevent owners from paying for services twice, or having an improper lien filed against its property.
So, why is filing a mechanics lien a discipline? Because it starts the moment you sign your contract.
- In many (not all) states, you can actually waive your right to lien before ever providing any services or materials. If you’re in one of these states, it’s important to review your contract for this type of waiver language.
- Many states require contractors and/or suppliers to deliver a Preliminary Notice to the property owner (“NTO”) before furnishing labor or materials. Failure to deliver notice, and to deliver it properly, may result in the forfeiting of lien rights.
- Many states require contractors and/or suppliers to deliver a “Notice of Intent to Lien” or similar instrument a certain number of days after accounts receivables become due, or a certain number of days before filing a lien. Failure to deliver this notice, and to deliver it properly, may result in the forfeiting of lien rights. (Read about the differences between Preliminary Notices and Notices of Intent here).
- Liens must be filed within a certain time period, and each state is absolutely different. (Get state-by-state lien deadlines here). Liens must be filed timely, or they are likely void.
Zlien Helps Your Company Be Disciplined About Liens
Zlien is more than a simple notice and lien filing company (although we’re darn good at this, too). We were founded to help clear the air concerning the complex lien and notice requirements across the nation.
Here’s how we do it:
- Our Lien Wizard guides you through the notice and lien requirements associated with your role in the project, and the state the project is located. You tell the Wizard some key information, and it pulls the notice and lien requirements from its database. From there, you can order the products / documents that are relevant to what you and the law requires. (Watch a Video on how our Lien Wizard Guides You Through Notice and Lien Requirements).
- We provide you with Free Lien Law Punchlists. This is a summary of the basic notice and lien requirements of each state.
- The Lien Pilot helps you calculate project deadlines. For free, you can manage your project data, contacts and important dates. The Lien Pilot calculates applicable deadlines and filing requirements, and prompts you when they are approaching.
- We do the work for you. If you don’t want to prepare and send the documents out yourself, or if you just have too many to send and want to focus on running your construction or supply business… Zlien will do all the work for you. For notices, we’ll print them, mail them, track them, and store proof of their delivery on our secure servers. For liens and other filed documents, we’ll prepare them, have them filed, and deliver notice to the project’s relevant contacts.