Filing a mechanics lien means you’re placing an encumbrance against a specific piece of property. That encumbrance is recorded in a county’s property records, and so it is fundamental that the document presenting that encumbrance specifically and completely identify the property at issue. How is that done?
Every state has different rules on what does and does not constitute a sufficient description of a property within a mechanics lien filing. As far as state rules are concerned, Colorado has always been one of the most liberal jurisdications, requiring simply that a mechanics lien describe a piece a property in a way that distinguishes it from other property.
Practically speaking, while most states require full legal descriptions, in Colorado a simple municipal address has been sufficient.
ENR Mountain States published an article on its website titled “Know The Details of Mechanics Lien Descriptions,” wherein the author talks about the impact of a June 2012 Colorado Supreme Court decision about the quality of a property description within a deed of trust (mortgage).
While the case does specifically exclude relevance to mechanics lien jurisprudence, and Colorado cases do exist that allow mechanic liens with municipal addresses to stand, the Supreme Court decision represents a shift in perspective in Colorado about property descriptions. The ENR author believes that this could flood over into the mechanics lien jurisprudence and require Colorado mechanics lien claims to contain more robust property descriptions.
[pullquote style="right" quote="dark"]Getting it right—and complete—will save time, effort and possible risk. – Albert Wolf[/pullquote] What’s the best practice?
Of course, the best practice is to include a full legal description of the property within the mechanics lien. As stated in the ENR article, “Getting it right—and complete—will save time, effort and possible risk.”
Where do you get a legal property description? For those who file a mechanics lien with Zlien, it’s easy – it’s included as part of our fee. Every time we file a mechanics lien for a client, we research the property and get the legal property description, title and ownership records.