What’s one way to get rid of a mechanic’s lien?
· Attack service of the lien.
Pursuant to Lien Law §11, for a mechanic’s lien on property to be valid, it must be served properly. There are only three ways to serve such a lien:
1. by personally serving the property owner; or
2. by leaving it with a person of suitable age and discretion at the owner’s last known place of residence, so long as such residence is in the same city or town where the liened property is located ; or
3. by registered or certified mail to the owner’s last known place of residence.
If the owner has no residence in the city or town where the property is located, or cannot be found and he has no agent or attorney, the lien can be served by posting conspicuously on the property between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
If the property owner is a corporation, then the lien must be served:
1. by personal service upon the president, vice-president, secretary or clerk to the corporation, the cashier, treasurer or a director or managing agent thereof, within the state; or
2. if such officer cannot be found within the state, by posting a copy of the lien on the property between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.; or
3. by registered or certified mail addressed to its last known place of business.
Furthermore, the lien must be served within five (5) days before or thirty (30) days after the filing of lien with the county clerk.
And finally, proof of service must be filed with the county clerk within thirty five (35) days after the lien is filed.
These rules must be strictly complied with. The courts have no discretion to excuse lack of compliance. Any error will lead to a dismissal of the lien. Outrigger Constr. Co. v. Nostrand Ave. Dev. Corp., 217 A.D.2d 689 (2nd Dept 1995).
Attacking service of a lien is only one defense strategy that may save owners money. As with most legal issues, time is of the essence. If you suspect the lien filed against you may not have been properly served and filed, contact a good New York lawyer to see if it can be dismissed.
-Jasmine Guadalupe, Esq.