Virginia
Mechanics Lien & Notice FAQs

It’s easy to file Virginia 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. Virginia has an unusual mechanics lien rule known as the 150-Day Rule.” Follow the link to learn more about this rule. To learn more about Virginia’s mechanics lien law, read the information below.

View All FAQs

Virginia

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
30 Days

On residential projects, when Mechanic Lien Agent identified in building permit, 30 day preliminary notice required.

Virginia

Mechanic Liens Deadlines
90 Days

Lien must be filed within 90 days from last day of the month which labor or materials furnished, & within 90 days from time the work is completed. Enforcement is required 6 months from date lien recorded or 60 days from the completion or termination of the project, whichever is later.

File your Virginia lien online now.

Virginia

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
30 Days

On residential projects, when Mechanic Lien Agent identified in building permit, 30 day preliminary notice required. On other projects to make owner or general personally liable - not later than 30 days after completion of entire work.

Virginia

Mechanic Liens Deadlines
90 Days

Lien must be filed within 90 days from last day of the month which labor or materials furnished, & within 90 days from time the work is completed. Enforcement is required 6 months from date lien recorded or 60 days from the completion or termination of the project, whichever is later.

File your Virginia lien online now.

Virginia

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
30 Days

On residential projects, when Mechanic Lien Agent identified in building permit, 30 day preliminary notice required. On other projects to make owner or general personally liable - not later than 30 days after completion of entire work.

Virginia

Mechanic Liens Deadlines
90 Days

Lien must be filed within 90 days from last day of the month which labor or materials furnished, & within 90 days from time the work is completed. Enforcement is required 6 months from date lien recorded or 60 days from the completion or termination of the project, whichever is later.

File your Virginia lien online now.

Calculate your deadline with the Payment Rights Advisor >

How to File a Virginia Mechanics Lien— Free How-To Guide Available

We have a comprehensive guide available to with step-by-step instructions to help you file a Virginia mechanics lien. Simply click the button below to download your free copy.

 

Virginia Mechanics Lien Guide - Free Download


Free Virginia mechanics lien form downloads available:

 – Virginia General Contractor Mechanics Lien form

 – Virginia Subcontractor Mechanics Lien form (when hired by the GC)

 – Virginia Sub-Subcontractor Mechanics Lien form (when hired by a Subcontractor)


5 Things to Know About Virginia Mechanics Liens

1) Most Licensed Parties have Mechanics Lien Rights

In Virginia licensed parties that provide service or labor for a construction project, removal or repair or improvement on a completed project is entitled to mechanics lien (given that the total contract amount is over $50). This extends to 3rd tier suppliers (suppliers to suppliers), architects and design professionals. Note, however, that even if a party is licensed if he/she supplies labor and/or materials to an unlicensed contractor or subcontractor he/she will not have lien rights.

2) When In Doubt, File Early to Avoid Missing Complicated Deadlines (150-Day Rule)

In Virginia, it’s important to lien early. Though a mechanics lien must be filed within 90 days from the last day of the month in which the project participant provided labor and/or materials & within 90 days of the date on which the project was completed as a whole, there is an additional 150-day deadline in order to receive payment. The lien can only include the amount of service or materials supplied 150 days prior to the last day that the participant worked on a given project. If necessary, a participant can file more than one lien. Further, subcontractors are required to send a 30 day (from the last date service or materials were provided) Post Work Notice in order to hold the property owner or general contractors liable.

3) Residential Projects May Require Preliminary Notice to A Mechanics Lien Agent

Where residential projects are concerned, a property owner might appoint a “mechanics lien agent” to handle contractor legalities. If this is the case, a project participant must provide preliminary notice to the mechanics lien agent within 30 days of last providing service or labor for a project or 30 days from the date that the building permit was issued. Labor or materials provided prior to providing preliminary notice cannot be included in the lien.

On all other projects, preliminary notice may work to make the make owner or general personally liable, but in order to be effective it must be delivered not later than 30 days after completion of entire work.

4) Only Licensed Parties Have Rights

In Virginia, mechanics lien law absolutely requires that all project participants are licensed in order to file a mechanics lien. What’s more, if a general contractor or sub-contractor supplies labor or materials to someone unlicensed, they, in turn, forfeit their right to lien as well.

5)Determining Priority Is Complicated

Knowing who has mechanics lien priority in Virginia can be tricky.

Prior recorded deeds of trust have priority over mechanic’s liens to the extent of the value of the land, but mechanic’s liens have priority over prior recorded deeds of trust to the extent of the value of the building.  Mechanic’s liens have priority over all deeds of trust recorded after the commencement of work.  However, as to repair and improvement work to pre-existing structures, prior recorded deeds of trust have priority to the extent of both the land and the building.

As to competing mechanic’s liens, priority is in reverse order of tier, i.e. a sub-subcontractor’s mechanics lien has priority over a subcontractor’s mechanic’s lien, and a subcontractor’s lien has priority over a general contractor’s.


A Virginia Notice of Intent to Lien may be enough to push for payment without a Mechanics Lien

Easy paperwork to get you paid

  • Get the right form for you
    Answer easy questions about your project to find the right form
  • Complete and send in minutes
    Send digitally or print and send yourself
  • We’re here to help
    Expert help available every step of the way

Need a Virginia notice of intent to lien?

Fill it out for free

Start my notice

Virginia Frequently Asked Questions

Virginia Mechanics Lien FAQs

In Virginia, a party who furnishes labor or materials for the construction, removal, repair, or improvement of any building or structure permanently annexed to land is entitled to mechanics lien protection (provided the value was $150 or more). It appears that suppliers to suppliers may be entitled to lien rights in Virginia. Mechanics lien protection also extends to design professionals.

Note, however, that contractors and subcontractors are required to be licensed, and if they aren’t, they are not entitled to lien rights. The claimant’s license or certificate number, and the dates on which the license/certificate was issued and will expire are required to be listed on the lien claim, as well as on the notice to the mechanics lien agent. Further, any party who supplies labor and/or materials to an unlicensed contractor or subcontractor also does not have lien rights.

In Virginia, a potential lien claimant must file a mechanics lien within 90 days from the last day of the last month in which he furnished labor and/or materials to the project (it must also be within 90 days from the completion or termination of the project). However, note the lien may ONLY include amounts for labor and/or materials provided in the 150 days preceding the day labor/materials were last furnished by the claimant – if the lien includes labor/materials provided more than 150 days from the last day the lien claimant furnished labor/materials the lien will be invalid. The lien claimant may file more than one lien notice, if necessary.

Note, however, that to make the owner and/or general contractor personally liable, the lien claimant must file the mechanics lien after the claimant furnished labor and/or materials to the project, and within 30 days of completion or termination of the project. The property owner’s and/or general contractor’s liability will be limited to the amount owed to the party with whom the claimant contracted at the time the notice of lien is filed.

Yes, if attempting to make the owner and/or general contractor personally liable. No, if not. As well as filing with the county clerk in the county in which the project is located, the lien must be served on the owner and/or general contractor (the party who the lien claimant is seeking to hold personally liable) by certified mail, return receipt requested.

No. Virginia does not generally allow attorney’s fees, lost profits, or other indirect or consequential damages to be included in the lien amount.

In Virginia, an action to enforce a mechanics lien must be initiated before the later of 6 months from filing the lien, or 60 days from the completion or termination of the project.

Priority of mechanics liens in Virginia is complicated. Prior recorded deeds of trust have priority over mechanics liens to the extent of the value of the land, but mechanics liens have priority over prior recorded deeds of trust to the extent of the value of the building. Mechanics liens have priority over all deeds of trust recorded after the commencement of work. However, as to repair and improvement work to pre-existing structures, prior recorded deeds of trust have priority to the extent of both the land and the building.

As to competing mechanics liens, priority is in reverse order of tier, i.e. a sub-subcontractor’s mechanics lien has priority over a subcontractor’s mechanics lien, and a subcontractor’s lien has priority over a general contractor’s.

Yes. A mechanics lien in Virginia must be notarized to be valid.

No. Virginia imposes strict licensing requirements in order to be entitled to mechanics lien protection. Not only is it required that the lien claimant be licensed in order to claim a lien, it is also required that the parties “up-the-chain” from the lien claimant be licensed as well. Further, the claimant’s license or certificate number, and the dates on which the license/certificate was issued, and will expire, are required to be listed on the lien claim, as well as on the notice to the mechanics lien agent.

Yes. A mechanics lien may be filed against a condominium project in Virginia, to the extent you are a party otherwise allowed to file a mechanics lien.

Virginia’s mechanics lien law does not have a specific provision as to who is required to have the lien released upon satisfaction, and when the lien release is required. However, generally speaking, any payment to a lien claimant after a lien has been filed is made in consideration of, and contingent upon, the lien being released by the lien claimant.

Virginia 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. See this article: Should You Sign That Lien Waiver?

Virginia state law had traditionally allowed contractors and suppliers to waive their mechanics lien rights at any time, empowering bankers, GCs, insurers, and others to use strong-arm tactics and require the waiver of all lien rights within a construction contract. This was changed completely in the 2015 legislative session, and since July 1, 2015, Virginia has prohibited any contracts executed “before furnishing any work or materials” to waive a “subcontractor, lower-tiered subcontractor, or supplier’s” lien or payment bond claim rights.  General contractors can still waive lien rights in the original contract and before any work begins. An article on this legal change can be read here:  Virginia’s New Lien Waiver Law Makes Payment More Fair.

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

Virginia Preliminary Notice FAQs

It depends.

Residential Projects (one or two family residential dwelling): All potential lien claimants must give preliminary notice if the building permit contains the name, mailing address, and telephone number of a “mechanics lien agent.”

All other projects: All lien claimants (other than the general contractor) who wish to make the property owner and/or the general contractor personally liable to the lien claimant must provide preliminary notice. If the potential lien claimant is okay with relying solely on his lien rights, and not the personal liability of the owner and/or general contractor, the notice is optional, but not required. If a mechanics lien agent is identified in the building permit, a potential lien claimant may voluntarily provide notice to that party.

Residential Projects: Notice must be provided within 30 days of the date on which the lien claimant first furnished labor and/or materials to the project, or within 30 days of the date on which the building permit was issued. If the notice is given later, it is only effective to labor and/or materials furnished on or after the date notice was given.

All other projects: No specific time is given for this notice to affect personal liability of the property owner and/or general contractor. But it is probably best practice to provide the notice either before, or shortly after the first date on which the lien claimant furnishes labor and/or materials to the project.

Residential Projects: If the notice is not filed timely it is not necessarily fatal to the potential lien claim, but it is only effective as to labor and/or materials furnished after the notice is served.

All other projects: Since no specific time limit is imposed on giving this notice, the notice may be sent at any time prior to 30 days after completion of the entire work. Note, however, that it is only effective to the money still owed to general contractor (or that the general owes a sub) at the time the notice is given.

All notices in Virginia may be sent by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested.

Residential Project: The notice must be given to the mechanics lien agent.

All other projects: Notice must be given to the parties whom the lien claimant wishes to hold personally liable, either the property owner, the general contractor, or both.

Notices sent by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, are considered delivered when sent.