Q: How long do I have to file a mechanic's lien against a private project?
A: On residential project (single family dwelling) you must file your mechanic's lien within four months of the time that you last provided labor or materials to the project. On all other projects, you must file your mechanic's lien within eight months of the time that you last provided labor or materials to the project. If your lien is for retainage only, then you may file your mechanic's lien for the retainage within ninety (90) days of the date when the retainage became due.
Q: How long do I have to file a mechanic's lien againt a public project?
A: On a public project you much file your mechanic's lien within thirty (30) days of the time that the project is accepted by the public authority.
Q: How long does a mechanic's lien last?
A: Once filed, the mechanic's lien will last for a period of one year. Mechanic's liens on private commercial projects and on public improvements may be extended for one additional year by filing an extension of the mechanic's lien before it expires. The extension will give you one additional year from the time the extension was filed. On all other projects, unless you obtain a court order, you may not extend the lien. Note that even if you seek a court order, the order must be granted before the lien expires, it is not enough to file a motion for an extension before the expiration of the lien.
Q: What is the fee to file a mechanic's lien?
A: Each county charges a filing fee. Most range from $15.00 - $45.00. Of course if you do not prepare the lien yourself, you will also need to pay for the preparation. Most services and lawyers charge between $250.00 and $500.00 for the preparation of the lien.
Q: Who can file a mechanic's lien?
A: On a pubic project, a subcontractor and the subcontractor's subcontractors and suppliers may file a mechanic's lien. On a private project, a general contractor and a general contractor's subcontractors and suppliers may file a mechanic's lien. While the law is not clear, arguably there is no limit to the tiers of subcontractors that can file mechanic's lien against private projects within New York.
Q: Can an out of state supplier file a mechanic's lien?
A: Absolutely. If you do not have an office within the State of New York, you can still file a mechanic's lien in New York. However, you must identify a New York attorney within your mechanic's lien as your attorney for purposes of the lien.
Q: If I worked on a public project can I file a mechanic's lien on the property?
A: No. However, you may file a mechanic's lien on account of a public improvement. A mechanic's lien on account of a public improvement liens the public fund (the money due to the contractor from the public entity). In some situations, you may work on a project that is publicly owned land but privately funded. In these rare situations, you cannot file a lien against the publicly owned property (it is prohibited by law) and there is no fund to which you can attach a mechanic's lien on account of a public improvement.
Q: Can I file a mechanic's lien on a condominium/cooperative?
A: Maybe. If you performed work on the common areas, you cannot file a mechanic's lien. However, the Lien Law deems the common charges received by the condominium board/cooperative board to be trust funds which the contractor can go after in the event of non-payment. If you performed work within the actual condominium/cooperative unit, then you may file a mechanic's lien against that particular unit.
Q: How do I satisfy a mechanic's lien?
A: A satisfaction of a mechanic's lien can be filed with the County Clerk (or the public entity) where the mechanic's lien was filed. There is usually no fee to record the satisfaction.