SW Legal studies in Business

Properly Recorded Mechanic's Lien Applies to New Property Owners
Description A supplier of materials to a home being constructed filed a lien against the builder. The home was purchased after the lien had been filed. The supplier could sue both the builder and the purchaser of the home, as the lien is good against any later owner of the property.
Topic Real and Personal Property
Key Words Mechanic's Lien; Notice; Enforcement
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts LeFrancois Construction contracted with National Lumber to supply materials for building a house. National recorded a notice of the contract in the registry of deeds for the county, identifying LeFrancois as the owner of the property. Later, National properly recorded in the registry a sworn statement of claim that $26,104 had not been paid for materials supplied to LeFrancois. Four days before that lien was filed, LeFrancois sold the property to the Schwartzes. Two months later, National sued LeFrancois to enforce the lien. Learning of the Schwartzes, National amended the complaint, seeking to enforce its mechanic's lien against both parties. The Schwartzes filed a motion to dismiss them from the suit, contending that the lien was not good against them. The trial court refused to dismiss them from the suit; the Schwartzes appealed.
Decision Affirmed. The purpose of the mechanic's lien statute is to provide security to contractors, laborers, and suppliers for value of their services and goods provided for improving the owner's real estate and to ensure that a person searching land records in the registry of deeds can determine with certainty whether or not title to a parcel of land is encumbered by a lien. The new owner of property that is subject to a mechanic's lien, whose deed is recorded after recording of the notice of contract, takes the property subject to the lien. National did not have to name the Schwartzes on the lien for it to be good against them, since they bought the property after the notice of the contract had been filed.
Citation National Lumber Co. v. LeFrancois Construction Corp., 723 N.E.2d 10 (Sup. Jud. Ct., Mass., 2000)

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