Recording Mechanic’s Liens
I have previously talked about what a mechanic’s lien is, and some of the basics in drafting one. Today, I want to discuss how you go about recording a mechanic’s lien. Only when the mechanic’s lien is recorded in the right office, on time, does it become effective. The easiest way to record the lien, of course, is to hire an attorney or other professional to handle the details for you.
Each County in Colorado has an office called the Clerk and Recorder. This office maintains a list of documents, such as deeds, showing who owns real property within the County. They also keep records of who has an interest in each parcel of property, including liens against real property. They do not record documents by the property address or legal description, because these things can change over time. Instead, they record documents by “Grantor,” the person giving away the property, or the debtor in the case of a lien, and by “Grantee,” the person receiving the property, or the creditor in the case of a lien.
Once your mechanic’s lien is properly drafted and a copy has been timely sent to the property owner, you need to record (or, formally file it) with the Clerk and Recorder. Recording it in the right Clerk and Recorder’s office is essential. To do this, you bring two copies of the lien to the Clerk and Recorder in the County where the property is located. The Clerk will then charge you a nominal recording fee based on the number of pages you are recording, and give you a file-stamped copy of the lien for your records. At that point, the world has notice of your lien against the property.
People frequently make the mistake of filing their lien in the wrong County. If the property is in Arapahoe County, but you recorded your mechanic’s lien in Denver County, the lien is no good. That is because it was filed in a different County than where the property is located. The purpose of the public records system is to give the world notice of interests in real property. No one looking for a lien against the Arapahoe County property will be searching the records of the Clerk and Recorder of Denver County.
Some Counties allow you to record mechanic’s liens by mail, but there are advantages to doing so in person that I will discuss in future blog posts.
This post does not contain legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact the real estate attorneys at Underhill & Underhill, P.C. to set up a consultation.