A security interest that may be acquired in property by someone who spends material or labor working on that property. A mechanic's lien usually stays in effect until the lien holder gets paid for services provided. The failure to pay for services as agreed may allow the lien holder to keep possession of the property involved. Thus, an automobile mechanic may be able to hold a car until its owner pays for repairs.
A mechanic's lien is not necessarily limited to mechanics. To prevent confusion, other names may be used for the same concept (e.g., construction lien, laborer's lien, artisan's lien, supplier's lien, garageman's lien, materialman's lien, and design professional's lien).
Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
A legal claim placed on real estate by someone who is owed money for labor, services, or supplies contributed to the property for the purpose of improving it. Typical lien claimants are general contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers of building materials. A mechanics' lien claimant can sue to have the real estate sold at auction and recover the debt from the proceeds. Because property with a lien on it cannot be easily sold until the lien is satisfied (paid off), owners have a great incentive to pay their bills.
Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.
August 19, 2010, 5:19 pm