How do I file a lien?

Filling out and filing a lien is a legal decision that can have real consequences for the other party - and even yourself if it's found to be a "false lien." It can be cheaper and less risky to reach out to the other party and attempt to collect payment. You can do so by writing a Notice of Intent to Lien. We can help you prepare and send one out in a few minutes.

But if all your attempts to receive payment have failed, filing a lien against the other party may be the best option.

You can follow these simple steps to do so:

Step 1: Preliminary Notice - It varies from state to state, but you may be required to notify the other party that a lien will be filed if nonpayment persists. Some states ask that you fill out a specific form to provide this notice - Notice of Intent to Lien - and others may have restraints on the periods when it can be filed. You'll most likely have to provide a Notice of Intent to Lien within 10-20 days of the date work began. That is why it's common for many contractors to inform parties from the outset of work that a lien will be filed in the event of an outstanding payment. We can help you generate this notice in 5 minutes for only $39.

Step 2: Research and Review Deadlines - As stated earlier, each state has its own deadlines for when you can and can't file a lien. Contact your local court to find out when your deadline expires. In some states, you may only have 60 days from when the work was completed to file while others provide up to a year.

Step 3: Generate a Lien Filing -  The next step is a doozy. You will need to:

  • Contact the appropriate courthouse
  • Inquire and receive the documents necessary to file the lien.
  • Fill those documents out
  • Find a notary to have them notarized
  • Go back to the courthouse, pay the appropriate fee, and finally file the documents.

Or, pay Dispute to help you do it all from your phone in minutes.

Step 4: File the Lien. Depending on the state, you will want to file the lien with either the property recorder's office or the court clerk. If you are filing a lien on a property, it's usually filed in the county where the property is located. Most courts charge a filing fee between $25 and $50.

Step 5: Notify the Parties - After filing the lien, most states require you to notify all parties included in the lien, such as the property owner and other lien holders. You will need to locate a local process server, or read up on the different legal methods in your courthouse, to complete this service. A local process server usually costs between $60-100. After, you will want to file the affidavit of service with the court, showing this occurred.

Do all that, and the lien has been successfully filed. Of course, you can also do it in a few minutes from your phone, with our help. Please reach out if you have questions about filing a lien.