By Alexander Barthet

A lien can often be prepared quickly, maybe too quickly. After all, it is just a simple form which you fill out and file, right? Not really. Any one of the following errors could invalidate your lien, causing you to lose this all important ability to protect your right to be paid.

  1. Recording a lien in the wrong county.
  2. Forgetting to file the lien on time.
  3. Overstating the amount of the lien.
  4. Liening non-lienable work.

Double check each lien before it is filed. It may sound easy enough, but some of the lien law’s requirements may not be so clear. For example, where is the right county to record your lien – is it where the property is located or where the lienor’s business is located? The lien is going to encumber the property improved by your work so it is always filed where the property is located. Filing on time also seems pretty straightforward; however, knowing the correct time-frames applicable to a particular lien can make all the difference. Your calculation should be based on calendar not business days (using a Calc-U-Lien helps in this regard). Many contractors make this next mistake, exaggerating the amount of their lien. Rounding out the amount or putting in an estimated cost to complete versus the correct contract balance – neither would be correct. And finally does your lien actually cover lienable items – work which improved the property and is considered lienable under the applicable statute?

You’ve filed a lien because you’re concerned about getting paid. The last thing you want is a document that won’t stand up to the scrutiny of a construction expert or a judge. You want that lien to be right.

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