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SUMMARY OF MECHANIC’S LIENS IN INDIANA

For contractors and owners alike, the rules concerning mechanic’s liens in Indiana can be confusing.  There are strict time requirements for filing a mechanic's lien, as well as for foreclosing the lien.  These time requirements are set forth in Indiana Code § 32-28-3-3 for the filing of the lien, and in Indiana Code § 32-28-3-6 and § 32-28-7-1 on foreclosing a lien.

Mechanic’s Liens on Commercial Buildings.

Indiana Code § 32-28-3-3(a) states that to acquire a lien, the claim must be filed within ninety (90) days after last performing labor or furnishing materials or machinery on the project against which the lien is to be filed.  The ninety (90) day period is to be computed from the date of last furnishing labor or materials on the project.

Mechanic’s Liens on Buildings/Structures Intended to Contain or Containing One or Two Dwelling Units or an Outbuilding Such as a Garage, Barn, or Family Swimming Pool.

Indiana Code § 32-28-3-3(b) states that to acquire a lien, the claim must be filed within sixty (60) days after last performing labor or furnishing materials or machinery on the project against which the lien is to be filed.  The sixty (60) day period is to be computed from the date of last furnishing labor or materials on the project. 

Mechanic’s Liens on Owner-Occupied Family Dwellings/Dwellings for Intended Occupancy of the Owner.

The mechanic's lien laws provide several special rules designed to enable lien claimants to file liens against residential dwellings, but which at the same time afford greater protection to the owners of family dwellings.  When labor is performed or materials furnished by a subcontractor or material supplier for repair, remodeling or original construction of a single- or double-family dwelling to be occupied by the owner of the property, a pre-lien notice must be given in order to establish the right to subsequently acquire a mechanic's lien.  There are two different time limits for the pre-lien notice, depending on whether the work is for alteration or repair work or for original construction.  These time limits are completely separate and distinct from the ninety (90) day time limit for filing a lien after the date of last labor performed or materials furnished. 

1.  Alteration and/or Repair Work Performed on Existing Structures

You must furnish to the occupying owner of the parcel of land where the material, labor, or machinery is delivered a written notice of the delivery or work and of the existence of lien rights not later than thirty (30) days after the date of first delivery or labor performed.

2.  Original Construction

The same rule applies for original construction except that the notice must be given to the owner AND recorded in the county Recorder’s office within sixty (60) days from the date of the first delivery or labor performed.

Enforcing Lien by Filing Suit.

In order to enforce a mechanic's lien claim, the lien claimant must file a complaint foreclosing the lien in the Circuit or Superior Court of the county where the property on which the lien is taken is situated within one (1) year from the time when the notice of lien was recorded.  If the lien is not enforced within this time, then the lien is null and void.

Note that this post is only a brief summary of the mechanic’s liens in Indiana.  It does not constitute legal advice nor does it establish an attorney/client relationship.  Should you have specific questions regarding the above, please contact Benjamin Ballou, Steven Scott, or Preston Sisler at Hodges and Davis.

Hodges and Davis, P.C. - March 2015