If you’re contemplating a mechanics lien to get you paid on your New Mexico project, this step-by-step guide (starting in the next section, below) will provide the information you need to get it done.
While filing a mechanics lien on your own can be quite challenging, if you’re ready and willing to make a go of it yourself, just follow the steps below to file your New Mexico mechanics lien correctly.
The New Mexico Mechanics Lien Process Includes Several Requirements
It’s important to note that there are generally specific preliminary notice and timing requirements that must be met prior to filing a valid mechanics lien in any state, and this includes the state of New Mexico.
The reason why these requirements exist is that mechanics liens are such a powerful, legal tool. In fact, a valid mechanics lien gives the claimant an interest in the actual property s/he worked on during the construction project, even allowing the claimant to force the sale of the property to get paid.
Help is available — visit the New Mexico mechanics lien and notice FAQs page
Make Sure Your New Mexico Mechanics Lien Has the Required Information
Mechanics liens are created by statutes, and these statutes set forth strict requirements that must be explicitly followed in order to claim a valid and enforceable mechanics lien. One of these important requirements is that mechanics liens must contain certain required information. While the exact nature of the required information may change from state to state, it is always critically important to the validity of your lien is to make whatever information is required is actually included. Leaving out some information, or even potentially just getting it wrong, is more than just a simple mistake, it can invalidate the entire lien.
A New Mexico mechanics liens must the following information:
1) A statement of the claimant’s demands (amount due), after deducting all just credits and offsets;
2) The name of the owner or reputed owner, if known;
3) The name of the person by whom the claimant was employed / or to whom materials were furnished;
4) A statement of the terms, the time given, and the conditions of the contract;
5) A description of the property to be charged with the lien, sufficient for identification;
6) Verification by an oath of the claimant or some other person.
Special Note Regarding New Mexico, Licensing, and Mechanics Liens
Note that, while many states have licensing requirements (in other words, contractor’s license requirements) in order to qualify for mechanics lien protection, New Mexico has exceptionally strict licensing requirements.
If the claimant is required to have a license by the Construction Industries Licensing Act, the claimant must be licensed in order to claim a lien. Further, an unlicensed contractor may not be able to file suit to recover any money owed even without the protection of a lien. And finally, if a contractor is unlicensed it may be possible for the property owner to request a return of the money already paid.
How to File a New Mexico Mechanics Lien
Now it’s time to get your New Mexico mechanics lien claim form lodged for record with the county recorder for the county where the property is located.
- Prepare lien form, taking care to include the necessary information as set forth above, and sign and swear to contents of the document in front of a notary – and have the notary notarize the lien claim. NOTE that: The form must be signed, acknowledged and verified by oath of the claimant or some other person.
- Some counties in New Mexico may allow for mechanics liens to be electronically recorded. If available, and you choose this method, you will need to upload a copy of your lien to the electronic recorder system you will use, and follow the instructions. Be careful to pick the appropriate document type in the particular county.
- If e-recording is not available, or if you do not want to use that option, send the original copy to the office of the county recorder of the county where the property or some part thereof is located.
– The lien may be delivered to the proper register of deeds via mail or FedEx, or personally “walked in” to be recorded (either by you or a courier).
– Make sure to include the proper recording fees with the lien. Liens are often rejected for improper fees (and this can be true 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 vary from county to county and can be determined by calling the county recorder, checking on the county recorder’s website, or asking in person if you physically bring the lien for filing. The fees are often set at one amount for the first page with an additional, smaller, amount for each additional page.
– Note that your lien document must also comply with any specific margin requirements that particular county may have, as well as a potentially requiring county-specific cover page. These requirements can also be determined by calling the recorder’s office.
- Note that if you mailed your lien to the county for recording, or sent it via a courier, you must also include a self-addressed stamped envelope with return instructions to receive a copy of the recorded lien for your records and/or to serve the lien on the interested parties.
- (Best Practice) Serve a copy of the mechanics lien – see more about how to serve your New Mexico mechanics lien below.
How to Serve a New Mexico Mechanics Lien
In New Mexico, a lien claimant is not specifically required to serve a copy of the filed mechanics lien on the interested parties in order for the lien to be valid. The filing of the lien in the public records constitutes sufficient notice to any party with an interest in the property.
However, it’s always a best practice to put the owner on specific notice that a lien has been filed, and in New Mexico, any party without a direct contract with the owner may send a copy of the lien to the owner, if so desired, in an attempt to eliminate a possible defense that the owner has paid the full contract amount to the general.
Congratulations! Once the documents have been filed (and served if desired), your New Mexico mechanics lien is ready to get you paid for the work you did. Finally, a New Mexico mechanics lien stays effective for 2 years from the date the lien was filed. If an enforcement action is not initiated in that time period, the lien becomes unenforceable.
Keep in mind that even a valid and enforceable lien may be challenged, and if you missed a step somewhere along the way, your lien could be thrown out. Even if valid, however, you may be forced to file a lawsuit to enforce your claim in order to get paid. While a foreclosure action on a valid lien nearly always results in payment, it can be a long and expensive process.