Legal Article


Mechanics Lien Deadlines vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Below is a state by state summary of mechanic’s lien deadlines for the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

District of Columbia Mechanic’s Lien

Deadlines – Notice of Mechanic’s Lien: All contractors must file in land records within 90 days of completion or termination of project.

Complaint Enforcing Lien (lawsuit): Within 180 days after filing of Notice of Mechanic’s Lien or from the date of completion of the project. Must also file a “notice of pendency of action” in land records within 10 days of filing lawsuit.

Defense of Payment – Yes (see VA. Below).

Sub has right to request general contract terms and status of account from owner.


  • Must present license and certificate of good standing to file lien.
  • No sub-subcontractor lien rights.
  • Subcontractors must also serve notice of lien on owner.

State of Maryland Mechanic’s Lien

Deadlines – Notice of Intent to Lien: Subcontractors must serve Notice on owner within 120 days of last work.
Petition to Establish Lien (lawsuit): All contractors must file within 180 days from last work.

Defense of Payment- No. Owner must make sure all subs have been paid, except where an individual builds a single family dwelling for own residence on own land.


  • Sale of property to bona fide purchaser extinguishes lien rights.
  • General contract must improve building to 15% of its value (25% on tenant work).
  • Liens for some site work available.

Common Wealth of Virginia Mechanic’s Lien

Deadlines– Mechanic’s Lien Notice: All contractors must file Lien in land records within 90 days from the last day of the month in which the Claimant last performs work; but not later than 90 days from completion of the entire project. A Lien cannot claim amounts for work done more than 150 days prior to the date of last work.

Complaint to Enforce Mechanic’s Lien (lawsuit): Must be filed within six months from the date the mechanic’s lien is filed.

Defense of Payment- Yes All contractors must serve notice of lien on owner and upstream contractors while they are still holding enough money to cover lien.


  • All contractors must provide an additional notice to Mechanic’s Lien Agent on residential projects within 30 days of beginning work.
  • Liens for on and off-site development improvements available.

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