What’s a Defective (or Improper) Mechanic’s Lien, and How Does it Impact the Construction Project, by Sergey Garanyants

In certain instances, a mechanic’s lien filed by a contractor, subcontractor or material supplier can become either “improper” or “invalid” under relevant lien statutes, or “defective” on its face. In such cases, the owner is entitled to remove and/or discharge the mechanic’s lien so that the property is no longer burdened by it.

Many states provide for a different process to properly record a lien against a residential property, as compared to a commercial property. Nevertheless, the process of discharging an improper or invalid lien is largely the same.

Some of the most common situations that give rise to a defective lien occur when: 1) the lien claim is without basis, 2) the amount of lien claim is excessive or misstated, 3) filing of the lien claim was not performed in accordance with the relevant lien law statute, or 4) filing of the lien claim was not performed in time prescribed by the relevant lien law statute. In such situations, lien claimants generally forfeit their lien rights, and, in some instances may forfeit additional or subsequent remedies.

Moreover, many states mechanic’s/construction lien statutes punish contractors, subcontractors and suppliers who willfully fail to remove or release such improper lien claims, especially, if the notice of invalid lien was given by a party challenging its validity.

If it has been determined that your lien claim is invalid or improper, you must first provide the appropriate notice to the property owner challenging the validity of your lien and, in some situations, to the general contractor. Once such notice is given, lien claimants generally are allowed some period of time to discharge or release their lien claims by making appropriate filing with the state’s real estate records. The period of time to release an improper lien varies depending on the state. If the improper lien was not released, a property owner may file a complaint with the court in the state where the lien was recorded. Many state statutes will allow property owners, who were forced to pursue court action to remove or release an improper lien, to recover court costs and legal fees incurred in pursuing such action.

Source: “Removing Invalid Construction Lien”, the National Lien law Review, September 15, 2016, http://www.natlawreview.com/article/removing-invalid-construction-lien, Copyright © 2016, Stark & Stark.

Sergey Garanyants runs CMA’s Construction Forms Filing Services, helping CMA members in the construction industry protect their lien rights in all 50 U.S. states. For information about CMA’s construction forms filing services, visit http://creditmanagementassociation.org/services/construction-forms-filing/

A Contractor Will Serve 45 Days in Jail for Wrongful Lien Against Residential Property, by Sergey Garanyants

If you supply materials or labor to construction projects, make sure that you protect your company’s lien rights under the law. In doing so, remember that it is crucial to file liens properly and in a timely fashion.

A Wisconsin contractor will serve 45 days in jail and will pay a $3,505.46 fine for wrongfully filing the lien against residential property in Winnebago County, Wisconsin. According to the Oshkosh Northwestern, a 51-year-old owner of the local construction company illegally filed a construction lien on the residential home without giving proper notice to the homeowners as required by Wisconsin Construction Lien Laws. The homeowners discovered the wrongfully recorded lien when they contacted a financial institution in the attempt to refinance their property.

The contractor has been convicted with criminal slander of title after a jury determined he illegally filed a lien against the owners without properly notifying them. Moreover, the Winnebago County Circuit Court ordered the contractor to pay a $3,505.46 fine, and imposed additional restrictions on the contractor’s personal and business affairs, which included such obligations as – to inform potential customers about the conviction; to not have or use alcohol, drugs or paraphernalia; to submit a DNA sample; to not control any bank accounts; and to undergo any additional necessary counseling as may be required.

According to the contractor, he did notify the property owners but later lost the paperwork that would prove the fact that proper notice was given, and subsequently released the lien. “It’s amazing that, as a contractor, I can go to somebody’s house … and they decide they’re not going to pay for 50 percent of it, and then all of a sudden they can be suing me.” – the contractor told USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.

Source: Nathaniel Shuda – The Oshkosh Northwestern, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin, as published on November 24, 2015, August 6, 2016 and August 12, 2016.

Sergey Garanyants runs CMA’s Construction Forms Filing Services, helping CMA members in the construction industry protect their lien rights in all 50 U.S. states. For information about CMA’s construction forms filing services, visit http://creditmanagementassociation.org/services/construction-forms-filing/

CMA Welcomes Sergey Garanyants to Construction Forms Filing Department

Sergey Garanyants
CMA is proud to announce the hiring of Sergey Garanyants to manage its Construction Forms Filing Services (CFFS) team and offerings in CMA’s North Las Vegas office. Sergey, who obtained his Juris Doctor Degree from Loyola University New Orleans – College of Law, Class of 2015, offers his law background to help companies protect their lien rights under the law.

 

With a background in corporate legal counseling, commercial litigation, corporate governance, contracts & transactional practice, alternative dispute resolution, intellectual property & information technologies, administrative law & compliance, Sergey’s skill set is sure to provide additional value to companies filing preliminary notices, mechanics liens, bond claims, stop notices and other services to ensure they get paid on their construction jobs.

 

Sergey can be reached at 702-259-2622 or sgaranyants@emailcma.org.