Filing a Mechanic’s Lien in the State of Missouri

March 28th, 2018

Filing a Mechanic’s Lien in the State of Missouri

By:  Heather Rooney McBride & Brittany E. O’Brien


Missouri Statute 429.005 et seq. grants general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and laborers the ability to assert a mechanic’s lien for labor and materials provided to or incorporated into a property if the lien is properly filed within six months of the last date of work by the contractor/subcontractor.  Providing correct and timely notice of an intent to lien is the first step in preserving and maintaining valid mechanic’s lien rights in Missouri. If notice is not provided, the contractor will likely only be able to sue for breach of contract and unjust enrichment to collect.
            Under the statute, the method and requirements for notice depend on whether person or company doing the work is an original contractor or a subcontractor.  An original contractor is a contractor who enters into a contract to perform labor or furnish materials directly with the property’s owner. To preserve the ability to file a mechanic’s lien, an original contractor must provide the property owner with a written notice prior to payment, at one of the following junctures: when the contract is signed; when materials are first delivered; when work commences; or when the first invoice is delivered.  The notice must be written in at least 10-point bold font and must follow the express language set forth in the statute.  Compliance with this notice provision is a condition precedent to the creation of a valid mechanic’s lien by an original contractor.


            A subcontractor or supplier who does not contract directly with a property’s owner must provide the owner with at least 10 days’ written notice of the intent to lien prior to filing a lien statement.  The notice must include the name of the claimant, the amount of the claim, from whom the money is due, and a description of the property. Notice must be served upon the owner by the sheriff, a private process server or any “person who would be a competent witness.” This notice is a condition precedent to the creation of a valid lien, which means if it is not done correctly, a lien cannot and should not be filed. It is important that subcontractors and suppliers keep a careful eye on the six-month deadline within which to file the mechanic’s lien in order to leave enough time to serve the 10-day pre-lien notice upon the owner which must be completed before the mechanic’s lien can be filed.


A mechanic’s lien must be filed with the Circuit Court in the county where the real property is located.  Once a mechanic’s lien is filed, the contractor, subcontractor, or supplier must then file a petition to enforce the mechanic’s lien in the proper court within six months after the filing of the lien.  If a petition to enforce is not filed, then the lien will not be enforceable after six months.


The above-referenced deadlines apply to commercial property and to residential remodels or additions.  Contractors and subcontractors should consult an attorney regarding language for notices, liens, and lawsuits to enforce liens and should also consult an attorney regarding the additional timeframes and requirements applicable to new residential construction under Missouri statutes.  Attorney Heather Rooney McBride routinely represents contractors and subcontractors with respect to mechanic’s liens and collections actions, so please give us a call today to see if we can help you or your business collect on unpaid accounts.