How Do I File a Mechanic’s Lien in MD?

You completed a project by furnishing labor or materials to a construction site.  In the past you’ve been paid on time, but not this time.

If you are a contractor or a supplier, an architect, surveyor, an engineer, or certified interior designer, and have not been paid, you can file a mechanic’s lien to secure payment.  

A subcontractor generally does not have a contract with an owner, and the mechanic’s lien will allow him to be paid. This is the only way to protect your rights.

Maryland law specifies how you must file a lien. Understand that you have strong consumer protection rights in Maryland if you follow the correct procedure for filing a mechanic’s lien.

How to File a Mechanic’s Lien

First, you must file the action in the court of the county where the property is located. You must file it within 180 days from the last time you furnished goods or services to the property.

The lien should include a notarized affidavit by the claimant, setting forth the facts of the case that explain why you are due the lien amount.

You should file on behalf of your corporation, which must be registered with the state of Maryland. 

One additional thing – if the property is being repaired rather than new construction, the lien is only allowed if the property is being improved by at least 15% of its value.

If you are a subcontractor, preliminary notice is required, but not so for a general contractor. The subcontractor must not be in direct contact with the property owner, and the preliminary notice must be sent out within 120 days from the last delivery of supplies or last working day.   

The Maryland mechanic’s lien should include a description of the land, where it is located, address, zip code, parcel number, and photographs of the property may be attached.  A copy of the deed with the full legal description will be sufficient to attach to the lien.  

What the Mechanic’s Lien Should Include

Only some things can be covered by the lien, they include: unpaid supplies and labor, and any equipment which was part of the project.  You may be able to include interest if that was specified in the contract.

Generally, collection fees and attorney’s fees cannot be included in a Maryland mechanic’s lien, however a court may decide to award the legal fees to a claimant.

Once the lien is filed, the court will ask the petitioner to supplement the complaint, if necessary. If the court is satisfied, it will enter an order that the other side will reply to in a subsequent hearing. If the owner does not appear at that hearing, the plaintiff’s claim will be determined to stand.

Enforcing a Maryland Mechanic’s Lien

Under Maryland law, you may initiate enforcement or payment of the lien within one year from the filing of the mechanic’s lien by filing a Petition to Enforce.

If a lien is not satisfied, a contractor or subcontractor can sell the property to recover the outstanding amount owed.

You basically have to stand in line behind any pre-existing mortgage obligations or construction loans.  If several mechanic’s liens are competing, they may have to ultimately share existing funds. Otherwise, the liens will be satisfied upon any foreclosure sale of the property.

The good news is that the mechanic’s lien will have priority over other liens filed after the mechanic’s lien.

Once the lien is settled, the contractor will give the owner a signed release of the lien. This is supplied to all parties involved. The court will record the determination of the lien outcome upon payment.

Maryland Mechanic’s Lien Attorney

You may only get one chance to file a mechanic’s lien, and it must be done according to Maryland law.

The Law Office of Matthew S. Evans represents those in the construction trade involved in an unsettled account. The filing of a mechanic’s lien can be a complicated process that can be made simpler with an experienced construction and mechanic’s lien law firm. You do not want to miss an opportunity to collect what is owed you.

Contact our office in Annapolis at (410) 431-2599 to consult with our experienced mechanic’s lien attorney.

Who Pays When a Contractor Damages My Home

Hiring a contractor to perform work on a home is something that countless people do each year. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to finish your basement, remodel your kitchen, or install the luxury bathroom you’ve been dreaming of. Whatever it is, when you hire a contractor for work on your home, you have high expectations; the last thing that you anticipate is for the contractor to cause damage to any part of your property.

If damages to your home do result, you may be wondering who’s responsible for paying for them: your homeowners’ insurance policy or the contractor’s insurance?

Which Insurance Company Pays for Damages to My Home?

Which insurance company will pay for damages to your home often depends on your homeowners’ insurance policy, the type of damage, and the manner in which damage was caused. For example, damages from a true accident (like a fire) caused by a contractor may be covered, whereas poor craftsmanship may not be.

Your homeowners’ insurance company may pay for damages in the following situations:

  • Accident coverage. Accident coverage is part of most homeowners’ insurance policies, and it usually kicks in when a contractor damages a home. Accident coverage will pay for exactly that – damages caused by accidents. This means fires, water damage, structural damages, etc.
  • Property damage. It is important to note that there is a distinction between unsightly or shoddy work and actual damageto property resulting from that work, and that your insurance company will likely only offer coverage for the latter. For example, if a roof is constructed poorly and is beginning to show damage, your homeowners’ insurance company will likely not pay for this damage unless there is resulting damage to the home or structure otherwise. In other words, if there is no damage beyond faulty work, then you probably don’t have a claim for property damage.
  • The damages are within your coverage limits. It is very, very important to familiarize yourself with your homeowners’ insurance policy beforehiring a contractor to perform any work on your home. This is because many homeowners’ policies do cover damages during a home remodel, but don’t cover damages that result from an addition or an individual project. You should know your coverage limits and weigh whether or not increasing them before a project would add peace of mind.

When Does the Contractor’s Insurance Pay?

Even if you file a claim with your homeowners’ insurance company and the company agrees to pay for damages resulting from a contractor’s mistake, it is likely that your insurance company will attempt to collect repayment from the contractor’s insurance.

If your homeowners’ insurance company denies your claim, you may be able to recoup damage from the contractor’s liability insurance. Contractor liability insurance is designed to pay for accidents, damages, and injuries resulting from a contractor’s errors. In some cases, contractors even carry faulty workmanship coverage, which would allow you to recover damages for negligent work, even when other damages aren’t present.

Why You Should Work with an Experienced Attorney

While you surely deserve to be compensated for damages in your home, the truth is that insurance companies are often hesitant to pay claimants anything, and often offer far less than they deserve, if not outright deny claims. When there are two insurance companies involved (your homeowners’ insurance policy and the contractor’s insurance) the process of recovering damages may be delayed, as these two companies may engage in a back-and-forth about who owes what.

When you work with an attorney who is experienced in insurance law and contractor and homeowners’ insurance claims, you improve your chances of recovering the compensation you deserve. Your attorney will not only know which company to file a claim against for damages, but how much your claim is worth, what your options are if available insurance is limited, and how to negotiate for a fair settlement.

Contact the Law Offices of Matthew S. Evans, LLC Today

For a free consultation with an experienced legal professional, contact the Law Offices of Matthew S. Evans, LLC today. Our Maryland attorneys are well-versed in construction defect claims and have more than 20 years of combined legal experience successfully pursuing damages on behalf of our clients. Please visit us today for your initial case review or call us at 410-626-6009.

Matthew Evans Has Formed an Of-Counsel Relationship With Our Firm

The Evans Law, LLC is pleased to announce that Matthew Strohm Evans, Jr. has formed an Of-Counsel relationship with our firm. Strohm currently owns and operates United Title & Escrow in Severna Park and brings wit…h him over 40 years of real estate law experience. His wealth of knowledge includes complex real estate transactions and title matters. Strohm will certainly serve as an invaluable resource to the firm and to our clients.

Founded by one of the Annapolis area’s leading construction and real estate attorneys, the Evans Law, provides experienced, effective, and cost-efficient counsel in Maryland and the District of Columbia. From contract-related disputes to real estate and construction law to general civil litigation, the Evans Law, offers a broad range of legal services.

Matthew S. Evans, III Named Maryland Super Lawyer

Matthew S. Evans, III is proud to have been recently selected by Super Lawyers as a top rated Construction Litigation Attorney in Maryland for 2015.

Super Lawyers is a rating service of top lawyers among 70 different practice areas and is comprised of individuals who have been recognized by their peers and for their outstanding professional achievements. Independent researchers, along with evaluations and nominations from peers make up the rigorous selection process.

In addition to top rated Construction Litigation, the Law Offices of Matthew S. Evans offers a broad range of legal services including contract-related disputes, real estate and construction law, and general civil litigation. They also provide residential and commercial real estate settlement services through their affiliate company United Title, Inc.

Contract Disputes

The Evans Law is an Annapolis based firm experienced in contract disputes. They represent Maryland and Washington D.C. clients involved in conflict over real estate transactions, employment contracts and business transactions. While they always attempts to bring both parties to an agreement, they also work with their clients to prepare for litigation. Their primary focus is on the harm suffered by clients as the result of another party’s breach of contract. This typically involves financial consequences for the party that was owed money or services. Clients work with Matthew S. Evans, III because they want the money that is rightfully owed them without having to pursue criminal sanctions.

Our Legal Services for Contract Disputes Include:

  • Real Estate: Landlord and tenant lease disputes, homeowner association dues and disagreements over services, broken real estate contracts, commercial and residential settlements, contract disputes and ownership transactions.
  • Construction: Contract law disputes, liens and taxes, bonding, guaranties, sureties, licensing issues, bond claims, interpretation of the Miller Act and mechanic liens.
  • Land Use: Access permits, developer agreements, site plans, variances, re-zoning applications and master plan changes.

More About Matthew S. Evans, III

Matthew S. Evans, III has been practicing law for 15 years. He opened his own law firm in 2011 to focus on contract dispute issues. He is particularly interested in real estate, land use and construction. Mr. Evans is a member of the Maryland Bar Association, Anne Arundel County Bar Association and the Maryland Institute for Continuing Professional Education of Lawyers. He is passionate about his work and helping his clients recover what is owed to them in a timely manner.