Thursday, March 19, 2009

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...