So You’re Looking to File and Enforce a Mechanic’s Lien; What’s Next?
Filing a Notice of Intent to Lien – Made Simple
Once you’ve determined that you have the right to file and enforce a mechanic’s lien in the District of Columbia, it is essential that each step of the mandatory, statutory process is strictly followed. Failure to get everything right the first time can lead to the rejection of the mechanic’s lien and loss of your lien rights. An important part of the mechanic’s lien process is to ensure that the Notice of Intent requirements are met.
To enforce a mechanic’s lien, the Contractor claiming the lien must record a Notice of Intent to Lien with the D.C. Recorder of Deeds. This filing may be done electronically. The DC Office of Recorder of Deeds provides a link to the most up to date Notice of Intent to Lien form. The Notice of Intent must be recorded during construction or within 90 days after the completion or termination of the project.
i. What Must the Notice of Intent Include?
[DC Code Ann. § 40-301.02(b) Notice]
1. The Name and Address of the Contractor or the Contractor’s Registered Agent
2. The Name and Address of the Owner or the Owner’s Registered Agent
3. The Name of the Party against whom you are claiming the mechanic’s lien and the amount claimed. Subtract any credit for payments received up to and including the date of Notice of Intent.
4. A Description of the Work Done, including the dates work started and completed.
5. A Description of the Material Furnished, including the dates that material was first and last delivered.
6. A Legal Description and, to the extent available, a Street Address of the Real Property
7. (A) If the Contractor is an Entity organized under the laws of DC or is doing business in DC then you must provide:
A copy of the Contractor’s current license to do business in DC issued by the Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection AND
A certificate of Good Standing from the Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection issued within 180 days prior to the date of the filing the Notice of Intent
(B) If the Contractor is an Individual or an Entity organized under the laws OTHER than DC, and is NOT doing business in DC within the meaning of applicable DC laws but is required to be licensed by a governmental entity then you must provide:
A copy of the Contractor’s current license to do business issued by the government of the other jurisdiction; AND
A certificate evidencing the Contractor’s good standing in its Place of Business or State of Incorporation issued by the other jurisdiction
8. If the Project is provided under a Home Improvement Contract, include a copy of the Home Improvement Contract AND
9. A sworn, notarized statement affirming under Penalty of Perjury and Upon Personal Knowledge that:
The Contents of the Notice of Intent are True and Correct to the Best of the Contractor’s information and belief; and
The Contractor has a right to recover the amount claimed.
(B) If the Notice of Intent is executed by an authorized representative or counsel of the Contractor, he or she shall attach evidence of his or her authority to execute the Notice of Intent on behalf of the Contractor and shall affirm that the Notice of Intent is True and Correct to the best of the affiant’s knowledge and belief.
i. The Notice of Intent is Properly Recorded, Now What?
[DC Code Ann. § 40-301.02(a)(2) Notice]
Once the Notice of Intent is properly recorded in the DC Office of Recorder of Deeds, the Contractor must send a copy of the recorded notice to the owner. The copy must be sent by certified mail to the current address or last known address of the owner within 5 business days after the date its recorded. If the certified mail is returned to the Contractor unclaimed or undelivered, the contractor must post a copy of the recorded notice at or on the affected Real Property in a location generally visible from some entry point to the Real Property.
In order to ensure that each step is correctly taken, it is essential to take the time to collect all required documentation and information required by the DC Code. Important items to especially be mindful of are the timing requirements for filing a Notice of Intent and for sending a copy of the recorded notice within the required timeframe. If each step is carefully followed, you should be in a position to successfully enforce your lien rights. Failure to follow each step precisely and accurately can result in loss of your lien rights. Carr Maloney, P.C. represents contractors and subcontractors throughout the entire mechanic’s lien process.