Indiana Mechanic’s Liens and Public Works Claims

The rights and remedies available to creditors who work on Indiana construction projects can be

complex. We know the legal requirements establishing these rights and remedies on both private and public construction projects in Indiana. We have extensive experience in preparing and filing mechanic’s liens on private construction projects and public works claims on public construction projects, as well foreclosing and enforcing those liens and claims through litigation where necessary.

Mechanics Liens

Protecting Your Interests at the Outset

Those furnishing goods or services to an Indiana construction project should strongly consider protecting and preserving their mechanic’s liens or bond claims rights because it generally improves the prospects of collecting the debt.  Under Indiana law, there are specific legal requirements that must be followed to acquire a valid lien or enforceable public works claim.  The failure to follow these requirement may invalidate the lien or public works claim and in turn diminish or even eliminate the ability to recover the amount owed for the material or labor furnished.

We help contractors, subcontractors and suppliers protect their interests and their investment of time, materials and services.  In many cases, the legal expense of ensuring a mechanic’s lien or public works claim is properly prepared is modest relative to the benefit the additional right confers.  Without a valid lien or public works claims, a contractor, subcontractor or supplier may not have a secured interest in the project, and if their customer is insolvent or files bankruptcy, their unsecured claim may be uncollectible.

We Help Contractors Foreclose Upon Mechanics’ Liens and Enforce Public Works Claims

In the event of non-payment, a valid mechanics’ lien or public works claim can prove to be a powerful tool.  We help contractors, subcontractors and suppliers of all sizes enforce mechanics’ liens or public works claims in foreclosure and legal enforcement proceedings throughout the State of Indiana.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there special requirements for owner occupied dwellings?

Yes. Indiana law presumes that homeowners are ignorant of subcontractors’ or materials suppliers’ rights to file mechanic’s liens on the homes. For new construction projects, a pre-lien notice must be filed with the county recorder’s office and served on the owner within 60 days of the claimant’s first furnishing of materials or labor. For remodeling projects, a pre-lien notice must be served on the owner within 30 days of the claimant’s first furnishing of materials or labor. These requirements do not apply if the claimant has contracted directly with the homeowner or if the home is not being built for the intended occupancy of the property owner.

How do I know if a project is public or private?

Generally, public projects are characterized as using taxpayer dollars. Public projects include those involving an entity that has taxing authority under Indiana law such as airport authorities. Mechanic’s liens cannot be filed on public property held for public use. However, rights generally exist on these public works projects to file claims against payment bonds and contract proceeds that will become owing from the public entity to the general contractor.

How long does a properly filed mechanics’ lien remain valid?

A mechanic’s lien claimant must file suit within one year of the date the mechanics’ lien is filed with the county recorder’s office. Otherwise, the mechanics’ lien becomes null and void as a matter of law.

What if I am outside the time limit for filing a mechanics lien on a private project?

You may still have a claim against money in the hands of the project owner that is due or will become due to the general contractor. To put this claim in place, you must send a Notice to Owner of Potential Liability letter to the owner that complies with the requirements of Indiana statute. This remedy is in addition to the mechanic’s lien remedy and is intended to allow materials suppliers and subcontractors an opportunity to get to unpaid contract proceeds.

What type of work or materials qualify for filing a mechanic’s lien?

Generally, there must be some improvement to the real estate or a building. A mechanic’s lien cannot be filed in connection with and does not attach to trade fixtures which are easily movable to another location.

When must a subcontractor or material supplier file a claim on a public project?

Generally, within 60 days after the claimant’s last furnishing of work on the project. There are four different statutes in Indiana governing subcontractors or material suppliers’ claims on public works projects, so you should consult with us regarding the specific legal requirements that apply.

When must a subcontractor or material supplier file a mechanic’s lien in Indiana?

Within 90 days of its last furnishing of materials or labor to a commercial project and within 60 days of its last furnishing of materials or labor to a project involving a single or double family dwelling.