Mechanic’s Liens for Construction Businesses

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by | April 4, 2024

What is a Mechanic’s Lien in Virginia?

Mechanic’s liens are a critical tool for ensuring payment within the construction industry, offering a legal remedy for contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers who have not received payment for their work or materials. In Virginia, the laws governing mechanic’s liens are distinct and detailed, necessitating a clear understanding to effectively navigate these waters. This guide aims to provide a concise overview of mechanic’s liens in Virginia, offering insights for construction professionals.

In Virginia, a mechanic’s lien is a security interest in the title to property for the benefit of those who have supplied labor or materials that improve the property. The Virginia Code provides the legal framework for filing a mechanic’s lien, outlining specific requirements and timelines that must be adhered to for a lien to be valid.

Key Steps for Filing a Mechanic’s Lien in Virginia

1. Pre-Lien Notice

Unlike some states, Virginia does not require a preliminary notice before filing a mechanic’s lien. However, contractors and suppliers should maintain open communication with property owners to mitigate the need for lien filings.

2. Eligibility

To be eligible to file a mechanic’s lien in Virginia, you must be a contractor, subcontractor, material supplier, or laborer who has provided work or materials for the improvement of real property.

3. Memorandum for Mechanic’s Lien

To file a mechanic’s lien, you must prepare a “Memorandum for Mechanic’s Lien.” This document includes:

  • The amount owed.
  • A brief description of the type of labor or materials provided.
  • The name of the property owner.
  • A description of the property, often including the address or legal description.
  • The claimant’s license or certificate number, if applicable.
  • A statement that the claimant intends to claim the benefit of the mechanic’s lien.

4. Filing Deadline

For general contractors, the lien must be filed within 90 days from the last day of the month in which the claimant last performed work or furnished materials, and in no case later than 90 days from the project’s completion. Subcontractors and material suppliers have 90 days from the last day they performed work or supplied materials to file their lien but not beyond 90 days after the completion of the work on the property.

5. Filing Location

The Memorandum for Mechanic’s Lien must be filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the county or city where the property is located.

6. Notice to Property Owner

After filing the lien, the claimant must notify the property owner about the lien’s filing by mailing a copy of the filed lien to the owner’s last known address.

7. Enforcement

Filing the lien is not the end of the process. To enforce the lien, the claimant must initiate a lawsuit within six months from the date the Memorandum for Mechanic’s Lien was filed or within 60 days from the completion of the project, whichever is later. Failure to timely enforce the lien will result in its expiration.


Mechanic’s liens in Virginia serve as a vital mechanism for protecting the interests of construction professionals, ensuring they are compensated for their labor and materials. Understanding the specific requirements and timelines set forth by Virginia law is crucial for both filing and contesting mechanic’s liens. Whether you’re a contractor, subcontractor, material supplier, or property owner, familiarizing yourself with the process and seeking professional advice can help mitigate the complexities associated with mechanic’s liens. Contact us for more information.