with Lia Fierro
In many states, lien laws require only a few essential steps to have a valid lien. However, there are a few outliers, such as Texas and New York, that come with a plethora of intricate steps and requisites one must take to not only ensure the lien they file is valid, but also to avoid penalties for invalid ones. In this new episode of the Quit Getting Screwed Podcast, Karalynn tackles the lien laws of one of the trickiest states in the country with New York construction lawyer, Lia Fierro. Lia has been practicing in NY for just over a decade, and she knows New York liens like the back of her hand. With Lia steering the conversation, listeners are sure to learn a great deal of imperative information in this all-encompassing episode.
Lia’s original background was in business law, where she developed her foundation and understanding of basic business ownership laws and practices. However, upon her first brush with construction law early in her career, she realized how unique and challenging the niche was and made it her personal mission to understand the laws within it. “It’s rare to find practitioners who really understand the intricacies of it,” she says, noting that she was intrigued by the complexity and specificity of the work.
When it comes to filing liens in New York, Lia suggests that it is far more complicated than it seems at first glance. “You can be very easily fooled into thinking it’s very form driven, very simple work where you just sign your name and file the document, but there are really quite a few pitfalls and tricky areas.” For example, Lia clarifies that there are two separate kinds of projects in New York; Public Improvements and Private Improvements. There are slightly different requirements to file a lien for each one in the state of New York. One of the most significant differences between them is the specification of who has lien rights. On a public improvement, any person who contributes material or labor to the contract retains the right to file a lien.
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Private improvements, however, actually list the specific parties who are permitted to utilize lien rights on the project in the contract. This includes, “landscape gardeners, nursery men, individuals or companies selling fruit or ornamental trees, …” The list goes on and on, highlighting incredibly granular details regarding who may and may not file a lien. On a Private Improvement project in New York, your lien rights are based upon whether you have made permanent changes to the project’s premises with your contribution.
Lia highlights these intricacies and many more throughout the episode, plainly spelling out the incredible nuance of filing a lien in New York, and how easily it can go sideways and be rendered completely invalid. For New York contractors looking for the ins and outs of filing a lien where the city never sleeps, this episode is a gold mine. If you learn something while listening to this episode of The Quit Getting Screwed podcast, subscribe to listen to our countless other interviews with construction industry professionals across the country and build your business with the free education they provide. For more from Karalynn, follow The Cromeens Law Firm on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram. You can also purchase the book that started it all, Quit Getting Screwed, on Amazon.
This article is intended as a general educational overview of the subject matter and is not intended to be a comprehensive survey of recent jurisprudence, nor a substitute for legal advice for a specific legal matter. If you have a legal issue, consult an attorney.