Experienced Kansas City Construction Law Firm

3 requirements for securing a mechanic’s lien in Missouri

On Behalf of | Sep 15, 2023 | Construction Litigation

Entrepreneurs and executives who run construction firms and materials supply companies in Missouri often have to balance financial needs with the need to appeal to prospective clients. Consumers generally do not want to pay entirely upfront for work that a company has not performed or materials that they have not yet delivered, but companies likewise do not want to render services or deliver goods without reasonable payment.

Given the massive expense involved in many construction and remodeling projects, contracts typically outline payment arrangements, which often include a deposit paid upfront and then a deadline for paying the remaining balance due. When a client or property owner does not pay for services provided or materials delivered, a mechanic’s lien could be an option for the business that has not received proper payments. The following are the three basic requirements for a Missouri mechanic’s lien.

Timely filing

An individual or business seeking a mechanic’s lien against a property due to the non-payment of an invoice will need to act quickly. Typically, the right to seek a mechanic’s lien ends six months after the completion of work on the project or the delivery of the materials. After securing a lien, there is another six-month deadline that applies to enforcing it, a process that often involves foreclosure. Acting quickly to hold a non-paying client accountable will be of the utmost importance.

A written contract

Although it is sometimes possible not to enforce verbal contracts, it can be very difficult to convince the courts to grant a lien when there is only a verbal agreement between parties. Most contractors and professionals running construction firms understand that they need to have a written agreement with their clients outlining the scope of services provided or the exact materials that they will deliver and the payment arrangements that they negotiated with the client. Those who do not have a written contract may not be eligible for a mechanic’s lien or may have a much harder time securing one.

Evidence of a contract breach

The final requirement for a successful mechanic’s lien request will be that the party seeking the lien has proof that the homeowner or client received services or materials and did not make a payment. Internal company records can provide very important information to the courts that can clarify the extent of the project and the client’s non-compliance with the payment arrangements.

Those who go to court to pursue a mechanic’s lien in Missouri will need to have the right paperwork and records in place and understand the basics of state law. Additionally, benefiting from legal guidance when seeking to hold clients responsible for non-payment may make it much easier and faster for a material provider or construction company to obtain and enforce a mechanic’s lien.