Connecticut
Mechanics Lien & Notice FAQs

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

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Connecticut

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
15 Days
Although not required, it is advised to file an affidavit with the country clerk within 15 days of commencing work.

Connecticut

Mechanics Liens Deadlines
90 Days
Must be filed within 90 days of last day work performed. Action to enforce must be commenced within 1 year after recording lien. File your Connecticut lien online now.

Connecticut

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
90 Days
No preliminary notice is required. However, Notice of Intent to owner and prime contractor should be filed within 90 days after ceasing work.

Connecticut

Mechanics Liens Deadlines
90 Days
Must be filed within 90 days of last day work performed. Action to enforce must be commenced within 1 year after recording lien. File your Connecticut lien online now.

Connecticut

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
90 Days
No preliminary notice is required. However, Notice of Intent to owner and prime contractor should be filed within 90 days after ceasing work.

Connecticut

Mechanics Liens Deadlines
90 Days
Must be filed within 90 days of last day work performed. Action to enforce must be commenced within 1 year after recording lien. File your Connecticut lien online now.
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5 Things to Know About Connecticut Mechanics Liens

1) Notice Requirements Are Complex

Connecticut does not require any notice prior to performing work on the project. However, the general contractor is allowed to file an affidavit with the town clerk in the town in which the property is located. If the affidavit is properly filed within 15 days after commencement of work, subcontractors and suppliers are required to serve the original contractor (in addition to the property owner) with a copy of any notice of intent to file a lien.

All lien claimants who do not have a direct contractual relationship with the property owner must provide a Notice of Intent to Lien to the owner (and the original contractor if an affidavit was filed with the town clerk) within the 90-day period in which the Certificate of Lien must be filed, and before filing the Certificate of Lien.

2) Know Your Deadlines to File and Foreclose on Your Connecticut Mechanics Lien

In order to be valid, a Connecticut mechanic’s lien must be recorded within 90 days of the last day on which the lien claimant performed services or furnished materials.

An action to enforce a mechanic’s lien in Connecticut must be initiated no later than one year from the date on which the lien was recorded.  Failure to initiate a foreclosure action by this deadline will result in the lien being extinguished.

3) Know Who Can File a Connecticut Mechanics Lien

Connecticut law requires the use of a two-part test in order to determine if a party has mechanics lien rights.  The “physical enhancement test” requires that the services or materials must enhance the property physically, lay the groundwork for same, or be an essential part in the scheme of physical improvement.  In addition, the labor or materials must have been provided in the construction, raising, removal, or repair of a building or its appurtenances, or in the improvement or subdivision of any plot of land.  The value of rental equipment is allowed.

There is no specific requirement in Connecticut that a lien claimant must be licensed to file a valid mechanic’s lien in most cases.  However, on residential projects, only registered contractors who comply with the Home Improvement Act or New Home Construction Contractors Act have lien rights with the exception that licensed professionals are not required to comply with the HIA or NHCCA when they are performing the work for which they are licensed.

4) Filing Your Connecticut Mechanics Lien is Not the End – Make Sure You Send Notice of the Recorded Certificate

Connecticut requires that, no later than 30 days after the Certificate of Lien is filed with the town clerk, a true and attested copy of the certificate must be served on the owner of the property.

Service, in this case, is defined as follows:

 – If the owner or original contractor resides in the same town as the property service may be “by any indifferent person, state marshal or another proper officer, by leaving with such owner or original contractor or at such owner’s or the original contractor’s usual place of abode”.

 – If the owner or original contractor does not reside in the same town as the property, the indifferent person, state marshal or other proper officer may effect service “by mailing a true and attested copy of the notice by registered or certified mail to the owner or original contractor at the place where such owner or the original contractor resides.

 – If such copy is returned unclaimed, notice to such owner or original contractor shall be given by publication.”

5) A Connecticut Mechanics Lien Can Trump Mortgages – Depending on Date

In Connecticut, mechanics liens have priority over any encumbrance originating after the materials and/or labor giving rise to the mechanics lien was furnished to the property. Note that, in Connecticut, the mechanics lien privilege arises when the labor and/or material is furnished, not when the lien is recorded.

Therefore, in Connecticut, a mechanic’s lien takes precedence over any other encumbrance that originate after services or materials were provided to the property, including mortgages. So, a mortgage that was executed but not recorded until after services were performed is subsequent in priority to a valid mechanic’s lien, and a mortgage that was both executed and recorded prior to the furnishing if labor and/or materials to the project has priority over the mechanics lien.

All mechanic’s liens are of the same priority, and if the total amount of several mechanic’s liens exceeds the lienable fund, the lien claims may be apportioned.


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Connecticut Frequently Asked Questions

Connecticut Mechanics Lien FAQs

Connecticut law requires the use of a two-part test in order to determine if a party has mechanics lien rights. The “physical enhancement test” requires that the services or materials must enhance the property physically, lay the groundwork for same, or be an essential part in the scheme of physical improvement. In addition, the labor or materials must have been provided in the construction, raising, removal, or repair of a building or its appurtenances, or in the improvement or subdivision of any plot of land. The value of rental equipment is allowed.

While you’re thinking about who can file a mechanics lien…make sure you pay attention to who you put down as the actual claimant on the mechanics lien document itself. Claimants have been known to mis-identify themselves, or to not use their exact technical name, and this can cause big problems for the company’s lien right.  This happened in Connecticut, as we explored in “More Problems With Misidentification of Lien Claimant in Mechanics Lien.

In order to be valid, a Connecticut mechanics lien must be recorded within 90 days of the last day on which the lien claimant performed services or furnished materials. Be careful when selecting your last furnishing date. A recent Connecticut decision in Constr. Ken-Nection Inc v. Cipriano leaves open the issue of whether work performed after a month and a half delay on the bulk of a project’s work should be excluded as “substantial” work on the project.  This case, which is important when calculating your Connecticut mechanics lien deadlines, was discussed in this article:  Which Work or Material to Include When Calculating A Mechanics Lien Deadline?

Yes. Connecticut requires that, no later than 30 days after the Certificate of Lien is filed with the town clerk, a true and attested copy of the certificate must be served on the owner of the property. Service of the notice, in this case, is defined as follows: “if the owner or original contractor resides in the same town” as the property, service may be “by any indifferent person, state marshal or other proper officer, by leaving with such owner or original contractor or at such owner’s or the original contractor’s usual place of abode.” If the owner or original contractor does not reside in the same town as the property, the indifferent person, state marshal or other proper officer may effect service “by mailing a true and attested copy of the notice by registered or certified mail to the owner or original contractor at the place where such owner or the original contractor resides. If such copy is returned unclaimed, notice to such owner or original contractor shall be given by publication.”

No mechanics lien may attach to the property in an amount greater than the amount the owner agreed to pay for the building and its appurtenances. Indirect or consequential damages are not allowed in lien claims in Connecticut. Attorney fees may be awarded in a successful foreclosure action.

Connecticut’s rules about the amount of the mechanics lien claim, and its connection to the property owner’s total and overall agreement, is unique from other states. We explored this in the post, “The Amount of your Mechanics Lien should be directly tied to value, or not?

An action to enforce a mechanics lien in Connecticut must be initiated no later than one year from the date on which the lien was recorded. Failure to initiate a foreclosure action by this deadline will result in the lien being extinguished.

In Connecticut, a mechanics lien takes precedence over any other encumbrance that originate after services or materials were provided to the property. Only encumbrances that were recorded prior to the initial furnishing of services or materials have preference over a valid mechanics lien. Note that the date the encumbrance was recorded is the controlling date, not the date of execution – so a mortgage that was executed but not recorded until after services were performed is subsequent in priority to a valid mechanics lien. All mechanics liens are of the same priority, and if the total amount of several mechanics liens exceeds the lienable fund, the lien claims may be apportioned.

The scenarios when a mechanics lien filing will take priority over a bank or mortgage filing is explained by a Connecticut court nicely in a case we discussed in a 2010 blog post. You can read that article here: New Case Explains Priority of Liens in Connecticut.

Yes. Connecticut law requires that the lien be attested to under oath and must be notarized to be valid. The “under oath” requirement is important in Connecticut, as courts have repeatedly indicated that a simple notarial acknowledgment will not do. The lien claim must actually state that the statement is “under oath” and the notary must perform an oath “ceremony” when making the acknowledgement. See Louis Gherlone Excavating Inc v. McLean Construction Company Inc. Who is allowed to sign the mechanics lien is also an important consideration in Connecticut. In Kesco LLC v. 201 Salem Tpk LLC, a court invalidated a mechanics lien because it was signed by a claimant’s attorney and not the claimant himself. The Connecticut mechanics lien, therefore, must be signed by the lien claimant and the lien claimant only.

It depends. There is no specific requirement in Connecticut that a lien claimant must be licensed to file a valid mechanics lien in most cases. However, on residential projects, only registered contractors who comply with the Home Improvement Act or New Home Construction Contractors Act have lien rights with the exception that licensed professionals are not required to comply with the HIA or NHCCA when they are performing the work for which they are licensed.  The details of how the Home Improvement Act can impact a contractor’s or supplier’s lien right was discussed in a recent (2013) court case, which we discussed in Connecticut’s Home Improvement Act: Subcontractors Can Breathe Easy.

A mechanics lien may be filed against an individual condominium just as against every other property. If a claim is to be filed against a condominium project as a whole such that it is to attach to each unit in a condominium development, each individual owner must be served.

There is no specific provision in Connecticut law that outlines who must cancel a mechanics lien after payment, or when that cancellation must be filed. However, an invalid lien must be discharged by the lienor within 30 days of receiving written notice from a person with an interest in the liened property that the lien is invalid. Failure to do so may result in penalties.

Connecticut 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.

Connecticut state law forbids any waivers in advance of payments, furnishing of materials, and/or performance of services.  However, the provision does not prohibit the subordination of a mechanics lien to the lien of a mortgage or security interest.

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

We explored the Connecticut law’s treatment of pay when paid and pay if paid provisions in detail in Connecticut Pay If Paid.  In that article we noted that “The Supreme Court of Connecticut had a golden opportunity to specifically outline the state’s stance on, and interpretation of, pay when paid clauses but failed to do so.” Unfortunately, therefore, interpretation is still up in the air.

Pay when paid provisions are timing mechanisms, and pay if paid provisions may be enforceable if they are detailed, specific, and contain exacting wording.

Connecticut Preliminary Notice FAQs

Connecticut does not require any notice prior to performing work on the project. However, the general contractor is allowed to file an affidavit with the town clerk in the town in which the property is located. If the affidavit is properly filed within 15 days after commencement of work, subcontractors and suppliers are required to serve the original contractor (besides the property owner) with a copy of any notice of intent to file a lien.

All lien claimants who do not have a direct contractual relationship with the property owner must provide a Notice of Intent to Lien to the owner (and the original contractor if an affidavit was filed with the town clerk). The notice must be provided within the 90-day period in which the Certificate of Lien must be filed (within 90 days of ceasing work) and before filing the Certificate of Lien.

We explore this Notice of Intent to Lien Requirement in the article “Are We Required To Deliver A Notice of Intent to Lien Before Filing Our Lien?,” as well as in the overview article of Connecticut’s lien laws:  “Connecticut Mechanics Lien Law: Five Things You Should Know.

The affidavit filed by the original contractor must be filed within 15 days from the commencement of work to have the effect described above. The Notice of Intent to Lien must be filed within the 90-day period in which a Certificate of Lien may be filed (within 90 days of ceasing work) and prior to the filing of the Certificate of Lien.

The affidavit is not a required filing in Connecticut, so the original contractor’s lien rights are not affected by the failure to file an affidavit. However, if the original contractor does not file an affidavit he is not entitled to be served with a copy of a subcontractor’s, supplier’s, or materialman’s Notice of Intent to Lien. Failure to provide the Notice of Intent to Lien within the statutorily mandated time frame is fatal to the lien claim in Connecticut.

The original contractor’s affidavit is to be filed with the town clerk in the town in which the subject property is located. Connecticut rules for serving the Notice Intent to Lien are strict. Connecticut law requires that “the notice shall be served upon the owner or original contractor, if such owner or original contractor resides in the same town in which the building is being erected, raised, removed or repaired or the lot is being improved, or the plot of land is being improved or subdivided, by any indifferent person, state marshal or other proper officer, by leaving with such owner or original contractor or at such owner’s or the original contractor’s usual place of abode a true and attested copy thereof. If the owner or original contractor does not reside in such town, but has a known agent therein, the notice may be so served upon the agent, otherwise it may be served by any indifferent person, state marshal or other proper officer, by mailing a true and attested copy of the notice by registered or certified mail to the owner or original contractor at the place where such owner or the original contractor resides. If such copy is returned unclaimed, notice to such owner or original contractor shall be given by publication.” Special care should be taken to serve every property owner, because “when there are two or more owners, or two or more original contractors, the notice shall be so served on each owner and on each original contractor.”

The original contractor’s affidavit must be filed with the town clerk of the town in which the subject property is located. The Notice of Intent to Lien must be served on the owner, and if the original contractor properly filed the affidavit, the Notice of Intent to Lien must be served on the original contractor as well. If there is more than one owner and/or more than one original contractor, notice must be served on every owner and every original contractor.

The preliminary notice is considered delivered when delivered in person. If sent through the mail, it is considered delivered when received. If sent through the mail and refused, the notice is considered delivered after publication in accordance with the Connecticut General Statutes 1-2.