Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tips for making sure your public improvement lien is timely

A mechanic's lien on account of a public improvement must be filed within thirty (30) days of the time that project was completed and accepted by the public entity.  See Lien Law Section 12.  So how do you find out when the project is "completed and accepted"?  The best way is to exercise your rights under Lien Law Section 11-a.  Under Lien Law Section 11-a, a potential lienor may, "at any time before the construction or demolition of a public improvement is completed and accepted" or "within thirty days thereof", file a written demand requiring that they be served with a notice of completion and acceptance once such an event occurs. 

The Lien Law Section 11-a demand must be filed with the "head of the department or bureau having charge of the construction or demolition".  The demand must identify: 1) the name and address of the one making the demand; 2) the name of the contractor or subcontractor for whom the labor was performed or materials furnished; 3) the estimated amount of the entire value thereof; and 4) a description of the public improvement.  The public entity is then required, under Lien Law Section 11-a (3), to serve the demanding party with a notice of completion and acceptance at the address set forth in the demand within five (5) days of the completion and acceptance of the project. 

Vincent T. Pallaci is a partner at the New York law firm of Kushnick Pallaci, PLLC where his practice focuses primarily on the area of construction law.  He can be reached at (631) 752-7100 or

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