Dealing with Mechanic’s Liens Which Arise After Completion of Construction

By Brian W. Bonham, Esq.

Construction is complete on your new home and you are busy settling in to your new surroundings and then you receive notice that a mechanic’s lien has been recorded and is now encumbering your property. You discover that one (or more) subcontractors, laborers or materialmen are claiming a lien on your property due to non-payment in connection with the provision of labor and/or materials during construction of your home. On the contrary, you thought that all funds had been paid to the builder before you moved in to the home. Your first question is how did this happen? The real question is how does this get resolved?

Section 1311.011 of the Ohio Revised Code provides a resolution. If you have made full payment to your builder under your home construction contract prior to your receipt of the mechanic’s lien, then the lien claimant does not have a lien on your property. If you provide notice of the same to the lien claimant, the lien claimant is required to release its lien within thirty (30) days of receipt of your notice. Unfortunately, some lien claimants choose not to comply. You also have the option of recording an affidavit setting forth the same with the county recorder thereby rendering the lien void, absent fraud on your part. If the lien claimant continues to refuse to release its lien, then you still have the option of taking legal action against the lien claimant. In that situation, the lien claimant could be liable for damages, which include court costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees, resulting from its failure to release its lien.