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How do I dispute a mechanic's lien placed on my home?

Chesapeake, VA |

My question is similar to one on here but I was hoping to get a bit more clairification. I was notified that a mechanic's lien was placed against my home after the company tried to charge us double what they quoted (they quoted us $35/hr to paint and then tried to charge us $70/hr.; which wasn't in writing).
This was over six months ago and I haven't heard anything further but want to refinance my home and am afraid this lien will effect our ability to do so. Can a contractor just put a lien on your home for any amount they want? Can they add interest to the amount? What do I need to do to have the lien removed? Thank you!

Thank you Mr. Brinkmeier for you response. I do have one more question. I read that the contractor has 6 mos. to bring suit after filing the mechanic's lien. So what is the difference between a memorandum of filing a lien and the acutal suit?

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Attorney answers 2


In general to dispute a mechanic's lien you need to motion the appropriate court seeking an order directing the party who filed the lien to appear in court and show cause why the lien is proper. The motion must be brought to court in the county where the land is located. In the motion you should explain why you feel the lien is not valid.

Next, the court sets a hearing date following service of the motion.

Then, on the court hearing date, you and the claimant appear before a judge to present your positions. The judge hears the arguments, reviews the evidence you submit, makes a determination as to the lien's validity and enters an order. If the lien is considered improper the judge will order its removal from the records pertaining to your home.

While lien dispute proceedings are not the most complex procedures, you would be well served to hire an attorney to represent you.

I hope this helps.

Good luck.

God bless.

Note: This observation by the out-of-state lawyer is not proteced by an attorney- client privilege.


In Virginia, the contractor can file memorandum of lien within 90 days of his last day of doing work (or 90 days of the end of the month if the work is ongoing). That is simply filed in land records, and puts the world on notice of the claim. As I stated in my answer to your other question, that can be removed by summary procedure, but only if it is "invalid," not if the issue really turns on how much was owed under the contract. The memorandum is good for 6 months from filing. In order to keep the lien in effect after that, suit must be filed to enforce the lien before the 6 months are up. If they did not file suit, the lien is automatically void.

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