An Overview of Mechanics’ Liens


Some mechanics’ liens can be difficult to understand. In this post, we thought it would be beneficial to take a closer look at these legal claims. Read on as our civil litigation attorney discusses why mechanics’ liens are allowed, how they work, and when it makes sense to get professional legal assistance. 


What are mechanics’ liens?

Mechanics’ liens are legal claims against property that’s been remodeled or improved. For example, if you are remodeling your kitchen and the person who installed the cabinets isn’t paid by the general contractor, a lien can be placed against your house to recover the money. 

The tricky part with mechanics’ liens is that the homeowner remains on the hook even if they already paid the general contractor. Should the subcontractor (the cabinet installer, in this case) never receive payment from the contractor, they can legally come after you and the property that was improved. Depending on the scope of the project, a homeowner could end up paying for the work twice.

How mechanics’ liens work

Though the mechanics’ lien process varies by state, the subcontractor must typically do the following:

  • The subcontractor must alert the homeowner of what is being contributed (installing the cabinets) within one month of contribution.
  • If the subcontractor never receives payment, they must file a “claim of mechanics’ lien” in the county where the property is located.
  • Once the claim has been filed, the subcontractor has up to six months to either figure out a solution with the homeowner or file a lawsuit.

When it’s time to see legal help

On the surface, mechanics’ liens may not seem like a big deal. What many homeowners fail to realize, though, is that liens can prevent you from selling your property or getting a loan. Rather than chance getting caught up in the complexities of mechanics’ liens, we suggest speaking with an experienced civil litigation team.


There’s no question that going through litigation of any type can be stressful. The last thing you want to do is attempt to navigate this process yourself, which is why we suggest learning more about the civil litigation lawyers at Cavett, Abbott & Weiss. Our counsel has more than six decades of combined experience, so it’s safe to say we know the ins and outs of civil litigation.

At the law firm of Cavett, Abbott & Weiss, clients will always remain our top priority. When you work with one of our Chattanooga attorneys, you can expect regular communication, transparency from start to finish, and dependability. You won’t find any sort of silly guarantee or gimmick at Cavett, Abbott & Weiss — just efficient and reliable counsel. 

In addition to mechanics’ and materialman’s liens, we also represent clients in matters involving construction disputesreal estate disputescontract disputes, and title insurance disputes. At Cavett, Abbott & Weiss, you can’t afford to go to court without us!® 

Contact our Chattanooga law firm to schedule a consultation with a civil litigation attorney.

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