A mechanic’s lien is a statutory right enabling those who provide labor or materials on a construction project to secure a lien on the property for the value of any unpaid work. Maryland’s mechanic’s lien law is designed to encourage construction by affording this additional protection to contractors, laborers and material suppliers.

In order to establish a mechanic’s lien in Maryland, subcontractors are first required to serve written “notice of intention to claim lien” on the owner(s) of the real property within one-hundred twenty days (120) from the last date the subcontractor performed work or supplied materials on the project. Md. Code, Real Property § 9-104(a) provides as follows:

9-104. Notice and Form Requirements for Liens

(a)(1) A subcontractor doing work or furnishing materials or both for or about a building other than a single family dwelling being erected on the owner’s         land for his own residence is not entitled to a lien under this subtitle unless,  within 120 days after doing the work or furnishing the materials, the   subcontractor gives written notice of an intention to claim a lien substantially            in the form specified in subsection (b) of this section.

The notice of intention to claim lien must include information such as the subcontractor’s full legal name and address, full legal name of the title owner(s) of the property, address and description of the property, remaining balance due and owing, and a description of the work furnished or supplied by the subcontractor. Regarding the content of the notice of intention to claim mechanic’s lien by a subcontractor, Md. Code, Real Property § 9-104(b) provides as follows:

(b) The form of notice is sufficient for the purposes of this subtitle if it   contains the information required and is substantially in the following form:

“Notice to Owner or Owner’s Agent of

Intention to Claim a Lien

  ……………(Subcontractor) did work or furnished material for or about the          building generally       designated or briefly described as

The total amount earned under the subcontractor’s undertaking to the date hereof is $ ……… of which $ ……… is due and unpaid as of the date hereof.     The work done or materials provided under the subcontract were as follows: (insert brief description of the work done and materials furnished, the time when the work was done or the materials furnished, and the name of the person for whom the work was done or to whom the materials were furnished).

I do solemnly declare and affirm under the penalties of perjury that the     contents of the foregoing notice are true to the best of the affiant’s knowledge, information, and belief.

The notice of intention to claim mechanic’s lien is effective if given by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, or personally delivered to the owner by the claimant or his agent. Md. Code, Real Property § 9-104(c). If the owner cannot be located on account of absence or other causes, the notice of intention to claim mechanic’s lien can be posted on the door or other front part of the building. Md. Code, Real Property § 9-104(e).

In the context of Maryland’s mechanic’s lien law, “Subcontractor” is defined as anyone who has “a contract with anyone except the owner or his agent.” Md. Code, Real Property § 9-101(g). This means that anyone with a contract with someone other than the owner, such as subcontractors, sub-subcontractors and suppliers to a subcontractor, are required to provide notice of intention to claim mechanic’s lien in order to preserve the right to enforce a mechanic’s lien against the property. A “Contractor”, defined as someone who has a direct contract with the owner, is not required to provide written notice of intention to claim mechanic’s lien.

Contractors, and subcontractors who have timely provided written notice of intention to claim mechanic’s lien in accordance with Md. Code, Real Property § 9-104, must file a lawsuit to enforce a mechanic’s lien in the circuit court for the county where the land is located within 180 days after the work has been finished or the materials furnished. Md. Code, Real Property § 9-105(a).

Mike Bramnick dedicates a significant part of his law practice to mechanic lien claims and construction law.  Call Mike Bramnick today at (301) 547-3647 or by email at Mike@BramnickCreed.com for a consultation.