NCS Blog

Liens in New York

The Difference Between a Mechanic's Lien and Public Improvement Lien in New York

Whether you file a mechanic’s lien, a public improvement lien or serve a bond claim depends on the project type: private, public or federal.

Generally, mechanic’s liens are secured on private projects and public improvement liens are secured on public projects. Bond claims, are most common on public projects, but can pop up on private projects from time to time.
This week we social-shared New York: Public Improvement Lien vs. Mechanic’s Lien by Kelly Behr. Behr offers a brief comparison of mechanic’s liens and public improvement liens, reminding readers that these liens are very different.
A key difference between these two remedies is what the lien encumbers: property vs. money.

“A mechanic’s lien creates a lien over the improvement and the land on which it sits. A public improvement lien creates a lien over the funds set aside for the improvement by the applicable state or public corporation rather than that public improvement itself.”

Another difference, at least in New York, is the time frame in which to file the different types of liens:

“Mechanic’s Lien: May be filed at any time during the progress of the work/furnishing of the materials or within eight (8) months after the final performance of the work/final furnishing of the materials (§10)

Public Improvement Lien: Must be filed at any time before the construction/demolition of a public improvement is completed and accepted by the state/public corporation, and within thirty (30) days after such completion and acceptance (§12).”
Bear in mind, even though the mechanic’s lien deadline is 8 months from last furnishing, New York is an unpaid balance lien state. Waiting to file the mechanic’s lien could result in an empty lien.
One last difference is where the document is filed. For a mechanic’s lien, the lien is filed solely with the county clerk. The public improvement lien, however, must be filed in two places:

  • “With the head of the department having charge of the public improvement, and

  • With either the state comptroller or the public corporation’s financial officer that is charged with the custody and disbursements of the funds for the public improvement (§12).”

Questions about securing your right to payment in New York? Contact NCS!

NCS Blog

This week’s post was Pure-Michigan! If you furnish to construction projects in Michigan, you should be familiar with the construction lien process. Check out 8 Pure-Michigan Construction Lien Facts.

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