The Can and Can’t of Mechanic’s Liens in Maryland

Mechanic’s liens in Maryland play an important role in ensuring contractors and subcontractors receive payment for work performed and materials provided on construction projects.  Mechanic’s liens, however, cannot be applied to all construction jobs and the application of mechanic’s liens in Maryland requires compliance with numerous statutory provisions.  The following is a list of can and can’ts related to mechanic’s liens in Maryland.

  • Mechanic’s liens CAN only be used in private construction projects.  This includes both commercial and residential properties; however, the work must improve the value of the property by 15% if it is a renovation or it must be new construction.
  • Mechanic’s liens CANNOT be used for public construction projects.  In those situations, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers may be able to bring a claim on the payment bonds.
  • Mechanic’s liens CAN be applied for construction on buildings; swimming pools; landscaping; architectural services; engineering services; land surveying services; interior design services; and leasing of equipment.
  • Mechanic’s liens CAN be applied on buildings, as well as, machines, wharves, and bridges. 
  • Mechanic’s liens CANNOT be applied to a building or land on which the building is erected, if, prior to the lien, the property has been sold to a bona fide purchaser (an innocent party who purchases the property without notice of any other party’s claim to the title of that property).
  • Mechanic’s liens CANNOT be applied 180 days after the last day work was performed or materials furnished.  Additionally, a subcontractor or supplier CANNOT apply for mechanic’s liens if they fail to provide notice to the owner within 120 days from the last day work was performed or furnished materials. 
  • Mechanic’s liens CAN be filed against the owner, even if there is a paid-if-paid or paid-when-paid clause in the contract.
  • Mechanic’s liens CAN and do expire after a period of one year from the date in which the petition to establish the lien was first filed.  However, if a petition to enforce the lien is pending and filed within the one-year period, the right to a lien CAN and shall remain in effect until the conclusion of the enforcement proceedings.

For any information related to filing for and establishing mechanic’s liens in Maryland or for any construction related claims in Maryland, contact Michael W. Siri at  


210 W. Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 400
Towson, Maryland 21204