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Washington Mechanic’s Lien Foundations

by | Jun 4, 2024 | Firm News

The mechanic’s lien is a powerful tool to protect the rights and financial interests of contractors who provide labor, professional services, materials, or equipment for the improvement of real property in Washington State. However, the lien process requires following specific guidelines, and failure to do so can result in forfeiting the protections available. Contractors providing work done at the site which improves the property are eligible to file for a lien. Examples of eligible work include: construction, alteration, repair or remodel, and demolition. Landscaping and arboreal services are also eligible. Additionally, professional services such as architectural or engineering services which are performed on the property also qualify. Operative services by superintendents or foremen are lienable, while administrative tasks such as coordination or off-site project management is not.

Construction professionals able to file liens include: contractors, materials suppliers, laborers, engineers, architects, equipment suppliers, developers, cabinet installers, arborists, developers, superintendents and consultants, among others.

Crucially, a prime or general contractor must be licensed in order to assert a lien claim. And, a subcontractor who is, themselves, required to be licensed, can only assert a lien claim if the prime contractor for the project is licensed. Additionally, any party providing eligible services, materials, or equipment to a licensed subcontractor can establish a lien claim, even if there is a general contractor who is not licensed.

Washington statutes differentiate between the notice required for claimants to obtain a mechanic’s lien. Prime and subcontractors have differing requirements based on the nature of the work performed and relationship with the property owner. In our next article, we will examine some of these differences to help contractors and subcontractors better understand the notice requirements.

Contact Burrwood Law Group for assistance with understanding your lien rights, providing notice, filing, and enforcing liens.