materialman's lien

A materialman’s lien is a statutory lien secured by real or personal property for materials used to improve, maintain, or repair property. A materialman’s lien is a subset of a mechanic’s lien, describing only those liens that arise from the provision of materials rather than labor. A materialman’s lien does not apply when materials are furnished in an ordinary sale on credit or an open account. Instead, for a materialman’s lien to arise by operation of law, there must be an understanding that the materials are to be used for a purpose named in the relevant statute.

The materialman’s lien provides a security interest that can be enforced by the holder against the piece of property if the debt is not paid. The lien arises out of a statute as a remedy of law for enforcing payment, rather than from the contract between the material supplier and the owner of the property. Importantly, a materialman’s lien will run with the property and subsequent encumbrances are subordinate to the lien. 

[Last updated in July of 2023 by the Wex Definitions Team]