Architects can create work or living spaces that provide shelter and can inspire, unify, and serve the owner’s needs. It takes skill, hard work and years of education. Once they provide plans for a final and perhaps help see the project through to fruition, they expect to get paid for their services regardless of what happens next. Architects can also use mechanics liens to help secure payment, just like contractors and subcontractors who typically file them.
How mechanics liens work
These are legal claims placed against a piece of property because money is owed to the lienor. The owner or developer cannot sell a property if a mechanic’s lien is placed on it. Owners or buyers can determine if there is a lien against the property by doing a title search. It will identify a lien filed at the county clerk’s office of where the property is.
For the lien to be valid:
- the architect will need to prove that they helped improve the property with their plans.
- They should also have a written contract regarding the scope of the project and payment.
- They must give the property owner at least ten days’ notice that they plan to file the lien.
- Claimants must file mechanic’s lien within two to four months of last providing services.
- They must file an action to enforce a mechanic’s lien within four to six months of completion or last providing services, starting from whichever was more recent.
Deadlines are tied to the work provided, but the county can extend them. For specific answers and protocols based on the details of the project and local regulations, check with the clerk’s office or someone who handles these matters.
Valid liens are effective
Real estate law attorneys often have experience filing and enforcing liens. They can also help negotiate settlements for their clients to ensure that the architect is equitably paid for their work, even if the project never moved forward or the property owner filed for bankruptcy.