As an Ohio contractor, subcontractor, materials or equipment supplier, or construction laborer, a mechanic’s lien is the way in which you obtain payment from the property owner if he or she fails or refuses to pay you for your materials and/or services. The Ohio Constitution guarantees your right to a mechanic’s lien, but since this right comes to you via state law, you must strictly comply with that law to secure and enforce your mechanic’s liens.
The first step of the process has nothing to do with mechanic’s liens per se. Rather, it consists of the notice of commencement that the property owner “must” file within 10 days after the work begins. If he or she fails to do so, you, as the general contractor, should file it as soon as possible thereafter. This notice should include the following:
- The property’s full legal description
- The owner’s name and address
- The general contractor’s name and address
- The lender’s name and address
- The surety’s name and address
The owner must give a copy of this notice to any subcontractor, materials or equipment supplier or laborer who requests one.
Whether you are a contractor, subcontractor, laborer or material or equipment supplier, you should file a prelien notice, aka notice of furnishing, within 21 days after first furnishing labor or materials. However, make sure a valid commencement notice is in place before filing your notice of furnishing.
Once 60 days have elapsed from the time you last furnished labor, equipment or materials without receiving payment therefor, you can file your mechanic’s lien. The 60-day period extends to 75 days for industrial or commercial projects.
The lien document must contain the following:
- Property description
- Property owner’s name
- Your signature, notarized and verified
Once you record your lien, you must serve a copy of it on the owner or his or her designee within 30 days.