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Frequently Asked Questions About Mechanic's Liens

Posted by attorney George Samiotes

Note: this guide is for those seeking a mechanic’s lien in Massachusetts only.

1. What is a mechanic lien?

A mechanic’s lien is an encumbrance or attachment upon real property which secures the right to payment for work performed on that real property.

2. Who can obtain a mechanic’s lien?

General contractors, subcontractors and suppliers, architects and engineers and laborers.

3. Can mechanic’s liens be obtained on public construction projects?

No. Mechanic’s liens cannot be obtained on public construction projects.

4. What amounts are included in the mechanic’s lien and what amounts are excluded?

The amount included in the mechanic’s lien is limited to the cost or value of the work and does not include interest, legal fees, or punitive damages.

5. For what types of work may I obtain a mechanic’s lien?

A mechanic’s lien may be obtained for the value of labor, materials, rental equipment, appliances and tools, for construction management/general contractor services, subcontractor services, professional services of architects/engineers.

6. Do I need a written contract to obtain a mechanic’s lien?

Mechanic’s liens for general contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers and architects and engineers are only allowed if you have a written contract. Nevertheless, you may obtain a laborer’s lien even if you don’t have a written contract.

7. How do I obtain a mechanic lien?

The process depends upon whether you are a general contractor, subcontractor, architect/engineer, or a laborer. It is always a good idea to consult an Attorney who knows the specific requirements and can draft the appropriate paperwork for you.

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