Virginia House Bill #1265 Threatens To Hamper Mechanic’s Lien Filings With New Notice Requirements

by Brian Loffredo, Esq. Articles about mechanic’s liens are not, by the very nature, exciting.  However, mechanic’s lien laws change, and if you are in the construction industry it is important you recognize these changes. The Virginia Legislature is currently considering House Bill #1265, which proposes changes to § 43-4.01 of the Code of Virginia.  The Bill has not yet been signed into law, and is expected to be voted on by the Senate in 2012. The current version of the Bill imposes additional notice requirements for persons furnishing labor and materials to one- or two-family residential dwelling units.  In such situations, the Bill requires that claimants serve the owner (or the owner’s mechanic’s lien agent, if designated) with a pre-lien notice at least 30 days prior to filing a lien. This new requirement will present lien claimants with a whole host of difficulties.  One such difficulty will be complying with the current deadline for lien filings – 90 days after the last date of work (or the termination of the project, whichever is earlier).  Claimants will need to be mindful of the 90-day deadline and be sure to send out their pre-lien notices well enough in advance so as to not miss the 90-day mark. The Bill, if passed in its current form, will also create numerous other uncertainties, such as whether or not a lien can be filed for an amount greater than the amount included in the pre-lien notice, and the effect on Virginia’s “payment defense.” This article will be updated as the Bill progresses.  For the text of the Bill as it currently stands, click on the following link.

Brian Loffredo is a principal in Offit Kurman’s Baltimore/Washington office. If you have any questions about the content of this article or other construction matters, please contact Mr. Loffredo at 301.575.0345 or