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Mechanic’s Liens

      The mechanic’s lien can be one of the more effective tools for a contractor’s accounts receivable manager. The mechanic’s lien does more than threaten to expose the assets of the contractor or the owner, it can go to the very heart of the project. A mechanic’s lien, if properly filed and maintained, can provide the liening contractor with an interest in the improvement to the real property. In the event of a public improvement, a mechanic’s lien can provide the contractor with an interest in the fund of money held by the public works construction owner on behalf of the upline construction contractor.

     Mechanic’s liens provide a substantive right to the lienor. The substantive right is an interest in the thing being liened, a piece of real property or a fund of money. It is extremely important to be able to maintain an understanding of the procedures involved in a mechanic’s lien.

This website may include sample portions of state law sections from the handbook. These are included to demonstrate the content of the handbook. These sections may not be current and should not be relied upon for information or advice.

STATE OF ALABAMA

Private Improvement

Who may lien: Contractors, subcontractors, second tier subcontractors, and suppliers to subcontractors. Ala. Code § 35–11–210. A material supplier to another material supplier does not have lien rights in Alabama. Pinecrest Apts., Ltd. v. R.P. McDavid Co., Inc., 535 So.2d 126 (1988). Architects have lien rights in Alabama. Hughes v. Torgerson, 96 Ala. 346 (1892). Surveyors do not have lien rights in Alabama. Wilkinson v. Rowe266 Ala. 675 (1957).There are two types of liens in Alabama. The original contractor that has a contract with the owner may claim a “full price lien” for the amount owed. Ala. Code § 35–11–210.A material supplier may be able to obtain full price lien rights if the supplier gives written notice of furnishing to the owner and to the construction lender (if possible) prior to furnishing material to the project and states in the notice that a lien is claimed for the full price thereof. Ala. Code § 35–11–210. If the owner fails to object before it uses the material, then a full price lien claim will be allowed. Buettner Bros. v. Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 18 So.2d 75 (1944).
Time/Notice requirements: Original contractor that has a contract with the owner does not need to serve any written notice to intent to file a lien with the owner before filing a lien. Any claimant other than the original contractor must serve written notice of intent of file a lien, Code § 35–11–218. (Please note this written notice is different from the notice of furnishing filed by a materialman claiming a full price lien as described above under Ala. Code § 35–11–210.) If the identity of the construction lender can be reasonably determined, then the written notice should also be served on the lender.
Procedure for filing the lien: The original contractor must file a verified statement of lien within 6 months after its last performance of labor or after last furnishing materials. Ala. Code § 35–11–215. Journeymen and day laborers must file a verified lien statement within 30 days after they last performedlabor. Ala. Code § 35–11–215. All other claimants must file a verified statement of lien within 4 months of last performing labor or providing materials. Ala. Code §§ 35–11–213 and 35–11–215.Verified statements of lien must be filed in the probate court of the county or counties where the property is located.
Suit: Must be commenced within 6 months after the maturity of the debt. Ala. Code § 35–11–221.

Public Improvement

No lien available, with the exception of projects performed by industrial development boards.Abell–Howe Co. v. Industrial Dev. Bd., 392 So.2d 221 (Ala. Civ. App. 1980).