How to File a Lien in Nevada

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A lien is a legal claim against property that a person owed money uses to recoup what’s owed. In Nevada, the steps of filing a lien are first to complete the appropriate lien form. Next, the individual serves a copy of the notice of lien on the person or entity on which it was placed. Then they file the lien with their county recorder’s office.

The general document recording fee varies by county. In Washoe County, this fee is $43 per document, and a document copy is $1 per page.

Seizing Property After Judgment

A person who is owed money can file a small claims or other type of civil lawsuit to collect their debt. The person owed money may be able to attach personal property, real property or a vehicle. To attach a home or land, the person owed money needs a legal description of the property. They can get this from the county assessor’s office.

In Nevada, the debtor can homestead their primary residence, meaning protect it from collection, up to $550,000. The plaintiff can also record a judgment against the defendant’s property. They should file the judgment with the county records office. The judgment is valid for six years, and the plaintiff can refile.

When the property is sold or foreclosed upon, the plaintiff may receive their money if the sale brings in enough money to pay off the creditor. The plaintiff can attach the defendant’s vehicle if they have the vehicle description, location, a printout listing the legal owner and a printout listing the outstanding liens. The plaintiff can get these documents from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.

Finding the Debtor’s Assets

The court can order the examination of a judgment debtor to allow the creditor to determine the debtor’s income and assets. The process involves the debtor going to court to answer questions under oath about the nature and location of their income and assets.

To request the examination, the creditor must file an application for examination of judgment debtor and submit a copy of the order allowing the examination. If the judge signs the order, the court will set a hearing date.

Setting a Court Date

After the order is signed, the creditor must serve the order upon the defendant. The creditor must also submit proof of service to the court. If no proof of service is provided, the hearing date will be vacated.

The creditor should come to the hearing with a list of questions for the debtor. If the debtor does not show up, the judge can hold the debtor in contempt of court and may issue a bench warrant for their arrest.

Filing a Mechanic’s Lien

A contractor working on real property must provide the homeowner with a list of all subcontractors and suppliers that will provide over $500 in labor or materials. A contractor, subcontractor or materials supplier who provides work or materials to improve property can file a mechanic’s lien against a homeowner.

A mechanic’s lien allows the party owed money to force a sale of the property, or a foreclosure, in order to get paid for work or materials. Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 108-,NRS%20108.2214%20%E2%80%9CLien%20claimant%E2%80%9D%20defined.,property%20or%20work%20of%20improvement.) sets out the special procedures for securing a mechanic’s lien. The requirements include:

  • Providing work or materials valued at $500 or more for the repair or improvement of the property.
  • Being licensed, if required, to perform the work.
  • Providing a Notice of Right to Lien if there is no direct contract with the homeowner.
  • Providing Notice of Intent to Lien 15 days before recording the mechanic’s lien.
  • Recording the mechanic’s lien (Notice of Lien) in a timely manner.
  • Filing a lawsuit to foreclose the mechanic’s lien within six months of recording the lien.

Notice of Right to Lien

A homeowner should receive a Notice of Right to Lien from each contractor, subcontractor or supplier within 21 days after they first provide labor or materials for a construction project. Even if the notice is late, it still may be effective for a part of the labor or materials. The Notice of Right to Lien must be delivered in person or by certified mail to the homeowner.

Sending a Notice of Intent to Lien

If the contractor, subcontract or supplier is not paid the amount due, they send the property owner a Notice of Intent to Lien at least 15 days before recording the mechanic’s line. The unpaid party should then record their Notice of Lien with the county recorder’s office. They must serve the Notice of Lien on the homeowner personally or by certified mail.

The unpaid party must record the Notice of Lien 90 days after the date on which the latest of the following occurs:

  • Work is completed.
  • Last date that work, material or equipment is provided to the project.
  • Last date the lien claimant worked on or provided materials to the project.

A Notice of Lien musts be perfected, or filed, and documented properly. The plaintiff must file a civil lawsuit to enforce the Notice of Lien within six months after recording the lien. If the party owed money does not file a lawsuit, the Notice of Lien lapses and is permanently lost.

Priority of Lien Claims Under Nevada Law

Mechanic’s liens are preferred to any lien, mortgage or other encumbrance that attached to the property after the general contractor, subcontractors or material suppliers have begun the improvement. Mechanic’s liens are also preferred to any liens of which the lien claimant had no notice and which were not recorded against the property at the beginning of an improvement.

Every encumbrance imposed upon property affected by mechanic’s liens after the improvement has begun are subordinate to the mechanic’s liens, regardless of the date of recording the notices of liens.

Canceling a Lien

If a debtor pays the debt owed, the lienholder who is owed the money can record a document with the county to reverse the original lien. Such a document is called a release, satisfaction, termination, cancellation or reconveyance.

If a lien is still listed on a credit report after it has been paid off, the former debtor should contact the entity that filed the lien against the property. That entity should provide the credit reporting agency with a document such as a release, which states the lien has been satisfied.

A homeowner has the right to request a lien release from their contractor, subcontractors and suppliers when they pay for services and materials. They should do so for each payment. A lien that does not comply with the provisions of state law on mechanic’s liens may be invalid.

Improperly Paying Off a Lien

A homeowner who pays off a lien that they were not actually required to repay may not be reimbursed through the Nevada Residential Recovery Fund. The homeowner could not be required to pay the lien if a party with an obligation, like a contractor, failed to do the work they promised to perform in the contract.

Nevada Residential Recovery Fund

The state's recovery fund provides compensation to single-family homeowners who have suffered a loss because a licensed contractor has not appropriately fulfilled the terms of the contract. A contractor fails to abide by the contract if they, the subcontractors and the material suppliers did not perform their duties as stated in the contract.