Filing mechanics or construction liens can be complicated. The rules vary based on the type of property, a contractor or supplier’s status on the job and, whether the owner of the property is a public or private entity. Byrnes O’Hern has created a summary of the procedures to follow in New York.
When to file:
- Private project (not a single family dwelling) — at any time during the progress of the work or within eight months of completing the contract.
- Private project (single family home, condominium, or cooperative apartment) — file within four (4) months from the last date work was performed or materials were provided.
- Private project (two family house or larger) — file within eight (8) months from the last date work was performed or materials were provided.
- For contracts with New York State — filing must take place within 30 days from completion and acceptance of project by the state agency.
- For contracts with the City of New York — file with the New York City Department of Finance or the city authority within 30 days from the completion and acceptance of the project by the city agency.
Where to file:
The lien must be filed in the county clerk’s office in the county where the property is located. The clerk must record the notice in a book titled “Lien Docket.”
The lienor must, within 30 days of filing the notice, serve a copy of the filed lien on the property owner (N. Y. Lien Law §§ 3 to 39-c). It is good practice to serve a copy of the filed lien and its cover letter to the owner on the general contractor if the lienor is a subcontractor or supplier.
A lawsuit to enforce the lien must be initiated within one year of the date of the filing of the lien. A request that the Court permit the term or the lien to be extended an additional year from the first time period may be made.