Construction Liens Explained

Today, Van White will be presenting at the Building Materials Dealer’s Association (BMDA) Washington and Oregon Lien Law Seminar. The presentation includes information on preliminary notices, perfecting lien claims, bond claims, post lien requirements, and licensing requirements. This begs the question – what are Construction Liens? Van explains.

Construction Liens (also known as Mechanics Liens) are a charge against or interest in privately owned real property to secure payment of a debt obligation. They are granted by statute to persons who have provided labor, materials, or certain services, which are incorporated into, consumed in, or contributing to the improvement of real property. When correctly placed upon real property, the Construction Lien gives the contractor or materials supplier the right to enforce a charge upon the real property they improved or that their materials were added to. The purpose of Construction Lien laws is to ensure that persons are paid for the value they add to someone’s property.

While Construction Liens are an effective collection device for contractors and material suppliers, there are a number of statutory requirements that must be followed in order to secure the right to file and foreclose a Construction Lien in the event of non-payment. Said requirements include: intent to lien notices to the property owner prior to or soon after commencing construction or providing materials; filing the lien in a timely manner; post-lien filing notification letters; and foreclosure of the lien in a timely manner. The requirements regarding intent to lien notices differ depending upon whether the subject property is residential or commercial, as well as the relationship between the lien claimant and the property owner. Construction Lien laws also differ by state.

If you are a contractor or provide materials to construction projects, you should familiarize yourself with the Construction Lien laws in your state. Please feel welcome to contact me if I may be of any assistance with regard to Construction Liens in Oregon or Washington. For over 20 years, I have been helping contractors and material suppliers with Construction Lien issues.

Van M. White is a partner at Samuels Yoelin Kantor. His practice emphasizes construction, real estate, and business litigation. His legal work regularly includes the drafting, review, and negotiation of construction and real estate contracts; construction liens and collections; the prosecution and defense of claims relating to construction projects; business disputes; bond claims; and general counsel to construction contractors, material suppliers, property owners, landlords, and business owners. Please contact Van directly at