A mechanic’s lien (also referred to as a materialman’s lien or a construction lien) is a legal tool that is designed to help those who supply labor or materials for a construction project to collect money that is owed to them for work that they have completed but have unjustifiably been denied payment for. If you own a construction business, you may lose sleep at night worrying about not being about to collect payment for your services; therefore, it is a good idea to know a little bit about how a mechanic’s lien works just in case you ever need one. This article briefly outlines Alabama’s laws regarding who can claim a mechanic’s lien, how to file a lien, and how long your lien is valid.
Who Can Claim A Mechanic’s Lien In Alabama?
Under Alabama code section 35-11-210, a mechanic’s lien can be filed by a mechanic, person, firm, or corporation who acts on a qualifying contract with the owner (or his agent, architect, trustee, contractor, or subcontractor) of land and improves a building or improvement of land by:
- Performing any work or labor,
- Furnishing any material, fixture, engine, boiler, waste disposal service and equipment, or
- Repairing, altering, or beautifying the land
Note that in Alabama even subcontractors may be able to obtain a mechanic’s lien against the property that they have been working on. But how do you actually file a mechanic’s lien?
How To File A Mechanic’s Lien In Alabama
In order to obtain a mechanic’s lien you must first go to the office of the probate judge for the county in which the property is located and file a verified statement of the lien. A ‘verified statement of the lien’ is a statement given in writing that states the amount of the demand secured by the lien and a description of the property on which the lien is claimed (generally providing the house’s address is sufficient). The person claiming the lien, or some other person who knows the facts surrounding the desired lien, must provide this statement under oath.
It is important to note that Alabama requires verified lien statements to be filed within a certain time period. Original contractors must file within six months after completing the last item of work or labor, or providing the last material. On the other hand, journeymen and day laborers have 30 days, and all other parties have four months.
How Long Is A Mechanic’s Lien Valid In Alabama?
Generally, Alabama code section 35-11-221 requires lien holders to bring an action to enforce their mechanic’s lien within six months “after the maturity of the entire indebtedness secured thereby…” In some instances this time period may be tricky to determine, but a competent creditor’s rights attorney can help determine when your lien will expire.
How Can We Help?
If you are interested in obtaining or enforcing a mechanic’s lien in Alabama it is a good idea to consult with a competent attorney. The experienced creditor’s rights lawyers at Cloud Willis & Ellis, LLC have offices in Birmingham (205-322-6060) and Mobile (251-545-4844) and are happy to assist you.