Washington DC
Mechanics Lien & Notice FAQs

It's easy to file Washington DC mechanics liens with zlien, the web's leading all-in-one mechanics lien compliance manager and security platform. Plus, zlien's platform can help you prepare and file mechanics lien cancellations, preliminary notices, and more. Washington DC is an Unpaid Balance state. To learn more about Washington DC's mechanics lien law, read the frequently asked questions below.

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Washington DC

Mechanics Lien Deadlines
None.

Washington DC

Mechanics Lien Deadlines
90 Days

Lien must be filed w/in 90 days from completion or termination of project (earlier of two), and enforced within 180 days from lien's filing.

Washington DC

Mechanics Lien Deadlines
None.

Washington DC

Mechanics Lien Deadlines
90 Days

Lien must be filed w/in 90 days from completion or termination of claimant's work (earlier of two), and enforced within 180 days from lien's filing.

Washington DC

Mechanics Lien Deadlines
None.

Washington DC

Mechanics Lien Deadlines
90 Days

Lien must be filed w/in 90 days from completion or termination of claimant's work (earlier of two), and enforced within 180 days from lien's filing.

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Washington DC Frequently Asked Questions

Washington DC Mechanics Lien FAQs

In Washington DC, mechanics lien protection is limited to those parties who contract with either the property owner or the prime contractor. Sub-subcontractors or suppliers to suppliers are not entitled to a lien. It is unclear whether or not architects can file a mechanics lien in Washington DC.

In Washington DC, a mechanics lien is referred to as a Notice of Intent and must be filed within 90 days after completion of the claimant’s work or termination of the project, whichever is earlier.

Yes. Washington DC law requires that the claimant send a copy of the Notice of Intent to the property owner within 5 business days after the notice was recorded. The copy must be sent by certified mail to the owner’s current address or, if not available in the local public records, to the owner’s last known address.

If the certified mail is returned unclaimed or undelivered, the claimant must post a copy of the recorded notice of intent at the property in question. The notice must be posted in a location generally visible from an entry point to the property.

No. Washington DC mechanics liens are generally limited to the amount of the contract price or, in the absence of an express contract, the reasonable value of the project.

In Washington DC, a lien claimant is required to initiate an action to enforce the lien within 180 days of filing the Notice of Mechanics lien. Within 10 days of filing suit, a notice of Pendency of Action must be recorded.

In Washington DC, a mechanics lien is preferred over all encumbrances that attach to a property after the commencement of work upon the property. Only those encumbrances that were recorded prior to the commencement of work have preference over a valid mechanics lien.

As to competing mechanics liens, a subcontractor’s timely filed claim shall take precedence over a general contractor’s claim. All subcontractor’s claims are of equal priority, and will be paid pro-rata in case there are insufficient funds to cover all claims.

Yes. Washington DC requires that the mechanics lien include a legal description and, to the extent available, a street address of the property.

Yes. A Washington DC Notice of Intent must be notarized in order to be valid.

No. Washington DC requires a claimant to be licensed in order to enforce a mechanics lien.

If the claimant is an entity organized  under DC laws or is doing business in DC, the claimant must provide a copy of their current license to file a lien in addition to a certificate of good standing from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs issued within 180 days prior to the date of filing the lien.

If the claimant is an individual or entity organized under a different state’s laws and is doing business outside of DC but is required to be licensed by a governmental entity, the claimant must provide a copy of their current license and a certificate showing the claimant’s good standing in that state’s jurisdiction.

If the claimant is under a home improvement contract, a copy of the home improvement contract must be included also.

Yes, a mechanics lien may be filed against a project involving a condominium, provided the lien claimant would otherwise have valid mechanics lien rights.

Upon satisfaction of the lien, the lienor should, upon demand of the lienee and at the lienee’s expense, file an entry of satisfaction with the clerk’s office. If the claimant fails to do so, he is liable for $50 and any damages the lienee sustained as a result of that failure.

Washington DC does not have statutory lien waiver forms; therefore, you can use any lien waiver form. Since lien waivers are unregulated, be careful when reviewing and signing lien waivers.

Washington DC law is unclear or silent about whether contractors and suppliers can waive their lien rights before any work on the project begins. Accordingly, you want to proceed with caution on this subject.

To learn more about lien waivers, see our Washington DC Lien Waiver FAQs and Resources.

Washington DC Preliminary Notice FAQs