As I sit down to write my annual list of resolutions for contractors, I am amazed at how much things changed in 2020. Construction was going well and then, in March 2020, COVID-19 hit. At first, we thought it was going to be a disaster for the construction industry. States, cities and towns shut down projects and many applied for PPP loans. Then, something amazing happened. Construction was considered an essential service and everyone was back to work.  That said, the work world changed: companies were donating their PPE to frontline workers, COVID-19 protocols had to be followed and paperwork had to be filed. Everyone was scrambling to figure out how to comply and keep their businesses going. So, you may or may not ask, what was I, as a construction lawyer doing? I spent March and April thinking about the new risks contractors/construction companies were facing and developing contract clauses to protect the industry. I wrote a number of blog posts with clauses to add to your contra

The Difference Between Mechanic's Liens and Real Estate Attachments

Someone recently searched the web about the difference between mechanic's liens and real estate attachments. The effect of both is the same. The lien or attachment gives the holder a secured interest in property that protects the party if a judgment is obtained. The difference, however, is the means used to obtain the lien.

A mechanic's lien is an automatic right that a contractor has that is afforded by statute. As long as a contractor who has worked at a property complies with the procedure, the lien can be filed on the property for the amount owed.

A real estate attachment is not automatic. In Massachusetts, a party must demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits of his or her case, and show that the defendant does not have liability insurance to satisfy a potential judgment against him. If the attachment is obtained "ex parte," without notice to the other side, then he must show that there is a likelihood that the property is going to be conveyed or the property is beyond the jurisdiction of the court.

So, mechanic's liens are much easier to obtain than real estate attachments. From the perspective of the property owner, however, the result is exactly the same. More on liens to come...

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