Mechanic’s liens in New York can get complicated and the terminology can get confusing. Don’t worry. We’re here to help. This quick reference guide explains some of the key terms you will need to know to navigate the complex world of mechanic’s liens in New York.
Mechanic’s Lien: A mechanic’s lien is a written document that provides security for someone that has supplied labor or materials to a construction project and not been paid. For private projects a mechanic’s lien is recorded against the property. For public improvement projects a mechanic’s lien is recorded against the public fund of money owing from the public entity to the prime contractor.
Lien Release: A mechanic’s lien release is a written document that is recorded to remove a mechanic’s lien that has already been filed. A lien release is most often used after a mechanic’s lien has been paid and the lienor wants to release the lien.
Lien Satisfaction: A mechanic’s lien satisfaction is a written document that is recorded to mark a lien as satisfied on the “lien docket.” For a private project a lien satisfaction marks the lien satisfied against the property while a public improvement lien is marked satisfied on the public lien docket maintained by the public entity running the project.
Lien Waiver: A mechanic’s lien waiver is not recorded. It is often provided in exchange for payments made on a project. There are progress payments made in exchange for partial lien waivers and final payments made in exchange for final lien waivers. There are also conditional lien waivers that do not become effective until payment is actually made. Likewise, there are unconditional lien waivers that are effective upon delivery.
Lien Amendment: A lien amendment is a written document that is recorded to amend a previously filed mechanic’s lien. Not every mechanic’s lien can be amended and some errors or omissions are fatal.
Lien Extension: A mechanic’s lien extension is a written document that is filed to extend a previously filed mechanic’s lien. Mechanic’s liens in New York last for one year from the date of filing. A lien against a single family dwelling can only be extended by court order but a lien against other private projects can be extended once as of right by filing a lien extension with the County Clerk.
About the Author: Vincent T. Pallaci is the president of NY Lien Masters, Inc. and is a practicing attorney in New York. He is the managing member of Kushnick Pallaci PLLC where his practice concentrates on construction law including issues with mechanic’s liens.