Timing is key to filing a mechanic's lien
When entering a home improvement contract in Maryland, you should be familiar with the mechanics lien law so that you may protect yourself from potentially paying twice for the same project. Today we will discuss timing requirements.
A mechanic's lien is a claim against the property on which work was done or materials supplied. Mechanic’s liens laws exist in every state to protect the rights of contractors, subcontractors and material suppliers. This means that anyone involved with the construction project on your property has the right to lien for non-payment, even if you paid your general contractor in full. Therefore, prior to making the final payment to your contractor, you must receive a lien release. This is a document in which the contractor declares that he has paid everyone connected with the project in full and that no one has a claim against your property.
Maryland's Mechanics' Lien Law (Md. Code Ann., Real Prop. Art. §9-101 et seq.) is very strict with regard to timing of filing and notice requirements. In Maryland, you must receive a notice of intent to lien from any claimant within one hundred twenty (120) days of his last day of work on your project (do not confuse this with four months, it is exactly 120 days). To prove he fulfilled the timing requirement, this notice will typically be sent via certified mail, return receipt requested.
Anyone seeking to make a claim for non-payment must be in strict compliance of the notice timing requirements. Failure to properly serve notice within this time line will invalidate the claim and bar the claimant from obtaining a mechanic's lien.