If you have decided to file a mechanics lien in Michigan, this step-by-step guide will break down the entire process for you.
It’s important to keep in mind that there may be preliminary notice requirements, and there are always timing requirements that must be met before a valid Michigan mechanics lien may be filed.
It can be a complicated and time-consuming task to file a mechanics lien by yourself, but if you want to take the plunge and you’re ready to file, just follow the steps below to start the lien process.
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Make Sure Your Michigan Mechanics Lien Has the Required Information
It is important to make sure that your Michigan mechanics lien contains all of the necessary information required by statute. Mechanics liens laws require strict compliance with specific rules, regulations, and deadlines. Failing to provide the required information on the lien claim (and providing it in the correct format) isn’t just a simple mistake – it can invalidate the entire lien. Clearly, it’s critically important to make sure the proper information is obtained and included on the lien document.
Michigan mechanics liens must be notarized, and require the following information to be included on the lien document:
1) Name and address of claimant;
2) Legal description of the property to be charged with the lien (legal description from notice of commencement is sufficient);
3) Name of the owner or lessee of the property (owner or lessee named in notice of commencement is sufficient);
4) The date claimant first furnished labor or materials to the project;
5) The date claimant last furnished labor or materials to the project;
If the claimant is a contractor, subcontractor, or supplier:
6) The lien claimant’s contract amount, including extras;
7) The amount paid to the claimant thereon;
8) The amount of the claim;
If the claimant is a laborer:
6) The lien claimant’s hourly rate, including fringe benefits and withholdings;
7) The amount of the lien claim
8) Sworn signature of the claimant (or claimant’s agent or attorney) with notary acknowledgment.
Special Note Regarding Michigan Mechanics Lien Form
The Michigan mechanics lien form is set out in the state lien law. If a claimant uses this required format and includes all required information, the lien claim should be sufficient formally and content-wise. Note that Michigan sometimes requires certain attachments to the lien claim in order for the claim to be valid (parties other than direct contractors must include proof of service of a notice of furnishing).
How to File a Michigan Mechanics Lien
Now it’s time to get your Michigan mechanics lien recorded in the office of the register of deeds for each county where the real property to which the improvement was made is located.
- Prepare the lien document, taking care to follow the statutory form, and to include the necessary information as set forth above.
- Make sure, if you are not a direct contractor, that proof of service of a notice of furnishing is provided with the lien.
- Sign the document in the presence of a notary and have your sworn statement acknowledged by the notary.
- Some counties in Michigan accept mechanics lien documents for electronic recording, but some do not. If you will have the lien e-recorded, choose the e-recording service, select the proper county and document (mechanics lien), follow the prompts, and provide payment. If either the county doesn’t accept e-recording, or you have chosen not to use e-recording, the lien must be delivered to the proper register of deeds by other means. The lien claim may be delivered to the register of deeds by mail or FedEx or may be walked into the office, either by you or by a courier.
- Remember, the proper recording fees must be included with the lien. Liens are often rejected for improper fees (even if you provide too much money). Any delay caused by needing to resubmit the lien for recording takes time – and since liens are time sensitive documents, it can possibly result in a missed deadline. Recording fees can be determined by calling the applicable recording office, checking on the office’s website, or asking in person if you physically bring the lien for filing.
– Note that your lien document must also comply with any specific margin (or cover sheet) requirements that particular county register of deeds may have – these can also be determined by calling the recorder’s office.
- Serve the lien, as set forth below.
Free Michigan Mechanics Lien guide is available for download
How to Serve a Michigan Mechanics Lien
Michigan requires that a mechanics lien is both filed and served in order to be valid.
Michigan law requires that any party claiming a lien shall “within 15 days after the date of the recording”serve a copy of the claim of lien (and all attachments) on the designee, or if there is no designee named, on the property owner. Service is to be accomplished by either personal service or by certified mail, return receipt requested, at the address shown on the notice of commencement. If the service is made by certified mail, service is complete upon mailing. This is important because proof of making the service is required in any action to enforce the lien.
Congratulations! Once the lien document has been filed and served – your Michigan mechanics lien is ready to get you paid what you’ve earned. While liens are very powerful – they are still able to be disputed or challenged. filing the lien may not be the end of the road. Even if the lien is not challenged, you may be required to enforce your lien claim through a foreclosure action in order to get paid – which can be a time-intensive process.
Remember that just because a lien is recorded doesn’t necessarily make it valid, and likewise, just because a property owner (or their attorney) may make a claim that it is improper and needs to be removed doesn’t make it invalid.
Finally, a Michigan mechanics lien stays effective for 1 year days from the date the lien was filed.
Recording a mechanics lien can be a powerful tool in making sure you are paid what you earned. The How-To guide above can empower you to take that step when and if it becomes necessary, and make sure you are treated fairly.