New Hampshire
Mechanics Lien & Notice FAQs

While you need to enlist a New Hampshire attorney to file a mechanics lien in New Hampshire or do it yourself, the zlien platform can help you create preliminary notices, notices of intent to lien, and more. To learn more about New Hampshire’s mechanics lien law, read the information below.

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New Hampshire

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
None.

New Hampshire

Mechanics Liens Deadlines
120 Days
Lien must be filed within 120 days of last providing labor or materials. However, in New Hampshire, the lien is not recorded prior to the legal action to enforce it so a lien claimant must file an Ex Parte Petition to Secure Mechanics Lien with the court.

New Hampshire

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
30 Days
Best Practice: Notice of lien rights served on owner prior to providing labor or materials.

Delivery of written account of labor and/or material furnished every 30 days (for the previous 30 days).

New Hampshire

Mechanics Liens Deadlines
120 Days
Lien must be filed within 120 days of last providing labor or materials. However, in New Hampshire, the lien is not recorded prior to the legal action to enforce it so a lien claimant must file an Ex Parte Petition to Secure Mechanics Lien with the court.

New Hampshire

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
30 Days
Best Practice: Notice of lien rights served on owner prior to providing labor or materials.

Delivery of written account of labor and/or material furnished every 30 days (for the previous 30 days).

New Hampshire

Mechanics Liens Deadlines
120 Days
Lien must be filed within 120 days of last providing labor or materials. However, in New Hampshire, the lien is not recorded prior to the legal action to enforce it so a lien claimant must file an Ex Parte Petition to Secure Mechanics Lien with the court.
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5 Things to Know About New Hampshire Mechanics Liens

1) Most Project Participants Are Eligible

In New Hampshire, mechanics lien law states that general contractors, subcontractors, laborers, and material/equipment suppliers, are entitled to mechanics lien rights. In contrast, sub-sub-subcontractors (likely) and suppliers to suppliers (definitely) do not have rights.

Though not mentioned explicitly by statute, equipment lessors (within 2 tiers of the general contractor) probably have mechanics lien rights. Prior to January, the law was fuzzy on whether or not professional designers (architects and engineers) could file a New Hampshire mechanics lien, but after a recent amendment, it has been determined that they do have that right.

A mechanics lien in New Hampshire is not required to be notarized.

2) The Deadline is Simple

The deadline to file a mechanics lien in New Hampshire is 120 days from the date that a project participant last contributed labor or materials.

3) It’s Important to Be Timely When Filing Preliminary Notice

Preliminary notice is required for all project participants not in direct contact with the property owner. Though there is no mandatory deadline for sending preliminary notice, the earlier the better! Because the lien is only worth the amount the property owner owes the general contractor at the time preliminary notice is served sending the notice early is crucial. The Preliminary notice is not required to be sent by any particular method, but since proof of delivery should be obtained, sending via certified mail with return receipt requested may be advisable.

4) New Hampshire May Allow Some Fees To Be Included in the Lien

In most states, a mechanics lien consists of the unpaid contract amount. However, in New Hampshire, it’s unsettled as to whether mechanics liens may include profit and overhead (if included in contract amount), interest, finance charges, attorney’s fees, court costs, breach of contract (consequential) damages. The law here is unclear so it is not guaranteed.

5) Mechanics Liens Usually Take Priority, But There Are Some Exceptions

New Hampshire mechanics liens generally have priority over pre-existing liens and other encumbrances. The two instances where mechanics liens may not take priority are a tax lien or a pre-recorded conventional mortgage.

Conventional mortgages take precedence when:

 – The mortgage was recorded prior to the project participant providing labor or materials

 – Proceeds were given to subcontractors and suppliers

 – There is an affidavit from the borrower, a disbursement from the lender is for completed work, and all subcontractors and suppliers have been paid for their share of such work, or will be paid with the disbursement


Sending a Notice of Intent can push for payment before a Mechanics Lien is needed

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New Hampshire Frequently Asked Questions

New Hampshire Mechanics Lien FAQs

In New Hampshire, general contractors, subcontractors, laborers, and material/equipment suppliers, are entitled to lien rights. Although there has not been case law on the issue, it seems likely that professional designers, engineers, and surveyors would also be entitled to mechanics lien protection. Sub-sub-subcontractors (likely) and suppliers to suppliers (definitely) do not have lien rights in New Hampshire. Equipment lessors are not specifically mentioned by New Hampshire statute, but it is likely that an equipment lessor would qualify for lien protection if he is within two tiers of the prime contractor.

In New Hampshire, a mechanics lien must be recorded within 120 calendar days from the date of last furnishing labor or materials for the project.

Yes. In New Hampshire, the lien is not recorded prior to the legal action to enforce it – the court steps in at the beginning of the process. In order to have a mechanics lien in New Hampshire, the lien claimant must file an Ex Parte Petition to Secure Mechanics Lien with the court. This may be done without notice of this action to the owner or other parties (Notice of Attempt to Lien must be given previously if lien claimant is not the general contractor). After the court grants the petition, the lien may be recorded, and a petition, order, and writ of attachment may be filed. Once the order has been signed by the court, and the lien has been recorded, the owner must be served personally by a process server.

It depends. Generally, the lien amount is the unpaid contract amount. However, New Hampshire law is unsettled as to whether any or all of the following damages may be included: profit and overhead (if included in contract amount), interest, finance charges, attorney’s fees, court costs, and/or breach of contract (consequential) damages.

In New Hampshire the action is initiated prior to the recording of the lien. The lien must be recorded within 120 days from the last date of furnishing labor or materials to the project, so the action should be initiated well before that date to ensure the court has a chance to see it prior to the recording deadline.

Generally, yes. Mechanics liens in New Hampshire have priority over all pre-recorded liens or other encumbrances other than a conventional mortgage or a tax lien. With regard to conventional mortgages, the “first in time” rule applies. That is, if the mortgage was recorded prior to the furnishing of labor or materials to the project, it has priority over subsequent mechanics liens. Also, with respect to construction mortgages, the mechanics lien will take precedence except to the extent that 1) the proceeds were disbursed to subcontractors or suppliers, or 2) there is an affidavit from the borrower a disbursement from the lender is for completed work, and all subcontractors and suppliers have been paid for their share of such work, or will be paid out of such disbursement.

No. The documents must be filed in court and signed by the claimant or the claimant’s attorney.

New Hampshire does not impose any licensing requirements on the ability to claim a mechanic’s lien. However, it is never advisable to perform work unlicensed if a license is required.

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

In New Hampshire, if a mechanics lien is satisfied, the lien claimant will withdraw his court action.

New Hampshire 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.

New Hampshire state 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 New Hampshire Lien Waiver FAQs and Resources.

New Hampshire Preliminary Notice FAQs

New Hampshire requires a preliminary notice to be sent by all parties who do not have a direct contract with the property owner.

New Hampshire mechanics lien statutes require that a preliminary notice (notice of intent to lien) be given prior to the delivery of labor and/or materials to the project. Also, a written account of the labor and/or materials furnished in the preceding 30 days is required to be given every 30 days after the original preliminary notice is given. However, practically speaking, the time period in which the preliminary notice may be given is probably longer. A preliminary notice may be given at any time prior to the lien claim itself, but the lien will only be effective against the amounts owed by the property owner to the general contractor at the time the preliminary notice is served on the owner – therefore, the sooner the preliminary notice is served, the more likely the lien will be effective. Also, there has been some disagreement in the courts as to the specific timing and necessity of the written statements of account to be given after the preliminary notice.

If the preliminary notice is not given prior to furnishing labor and/or materials, it can be given later, as long as it is given prior to the lien itself. However, a lien is only effective against the amounts owed by the property owner to the general contractor at the time the preliminary notice is served on the owner, so a lien may potentially  be rendered ineffective if the preliminary notice is sent late. Failure to give the statement of account required to be given subsequently to or concurrently with the preliminary notice is complicated. Courts disagree, but it may render part of the lien claim (corresponding to the missed statement) invalid.

New Hampshire statutes do not state how the service of the preliminary notice on the owner should be accomplished, merely that a notice should be “furnished” to the property owner. Sending the notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, may be advisable.

The notice should also be delivered to the mortgagee of a construction mortgage.

Because the statutes do not state how service is to be accomplished, this is left unanswered. To be safe, consider the notice delivered when received or refused if sent by certified mail.