How to File a Mechanics Lien in Alabama

By Roger Thorne
Constrution liens, anyone, value, a construction project
Hard working construction worker at a construction scene. image by Andy Dean from Fotolia.com

Mechanics liens are a commonly used form of security interest. These liens are usually used by construction workers, contractors, and anyone else providing materials or labor in the construction or renovation of a property. Alabama, like all other states, codifies the right to file these liens and governs how they can be filed and enforced.

Meet the work requirements. Alabama law states that in order to file the mechanics lien, the applicant must have made an improvement to the property against which the lien is issued. Improvements can come in many forms, including providing supplies, labor, waste removal, architectural services, engineering services, and any other act or labor that adds value to the property. Generally, this involves improvements to the property itself, the land on which the property rests, or attachments or additions to the land.

Meet the relationship requirements. The Alabama mechanics lien statutes require that the party filing for the lien can only be the original contractor, a subcontractor, or their material suppliers and subcontractors. Other parties that may have supplied material to a supplier, therefore, are not protected under the Alabama statutes.

Decide which type of lien is appropriate. Alabama law provides for two different kinds of mechanics liens. The first is the full price lien. This kind of lien is appropriate when a party has either a direct or implied contract with the owner of the property. The second form is the unpaid balance lien. Any worker who does not have a contractual relationship with the property owner can avail himself of this kind of lien.

File the written notice of intent to file a lean. This must be sent to the property owner before a lien can be filed. This notice must include such information as the amount in question, the work performed, the person or organization to whom money is owed, and the right to attorneys fees and finance charges.

File a verified lien statement. The lien statement must be filed in the county probate office where the property is located. Laborers must file within 30 days from the last day they worked or provided materials, while original contractors must file within six months. All other claimants must file within four months from the last day of work.

File suit and, if you are successful in court, obtain a judgment. In general, lien filers have six months after the final day of work on the property in which to file a lawsuit to recover the amounts in question.

About the Author

Roger Thorne is an attorney who began freelance writing in 2003. He has written for publications ranging from "MotorHome" magazine to "Cruising World." Thorne specializes in writing for law firms, Web sites, and professionals. He has a Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas.