Sunday, May 15, 2011

Can I amend my mechanic's lien?

It's a very common question and the subject of much confusion in the construction world.  A mechanic's lien amendment is very limited and may only be done for the following purposes and in limited situations.  First, an amendment can only be done within sixty (60) days of the filing of your mechanic's lien.  Second, the amendment must be done on twenty (20) days notice to existing lienors, mortgagees and the owner.  Third, the amendment must be to reduce the amount of the lien.  You cannot amend a mechanic's lien to increase the amount of the lien. 

In other certain limited instances, Lien Law Section 12-a (2) permits a court, on five days notice to existing lienors, mortgagees and the owner, to amend a mechanic's lien nunc pro tunc.  However, the amendment may not be granted if it would prejudice an existing lienor, mortgagee or purchaser in good faith.  Some examples of amendments that have been permitted are amendments to the name of the contracting party (the party that hired the lienor) and the dates of furnishing (if the amendment would not have changed the validity of the lien had the correct dates been originally inserted).  If the totality of the inaccuracies would render the lien such that there was not substantial compliance with the terms of the Lien Law then the lien cannot be saved by amendment and will be found defective and voidable.

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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