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 Strength of a Mechanic's Lien

The first in a series of posts on mechanic's liens:

One of my readers asked a very good question in response to a recent blog post. Is the mechanic's lien a stronger item in Massachusetts? The answer to that question is yes, a mechanic's lien is a very effective means for a contractor to put someone on notice of his claim. It will also put a "cloud" on the title of the property, meaning that most real estate conveyances cannot take place once a lien has been filed.

Over the past few years, mechanic's liens I have filed have prevented progress payments for new constructions projects, prevented the sale of houses, and forced others to come to the table and try to settle the dispute.

The only way for a property owner to dissolve a lien without going to court is to post a bond, and as some of my clients have found out, posting a bond can be quite expensive (usually 10% more than the amount of the lien).

Even if the lien is not done properly, one still has to file an action in court to dissolve it, which requires paying legal fees that are frequently not recoverable.

So, in order for a contractor to protect his or her interests, she should file the necessary documents for a mechanic's lien. It is much less costly than filing suit and a very effective means of pursuing payment.

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