LIEN-LAWS establish a right to retain possession of. personal property until the payment is made for services in respect to it.

A lien is lost by the voluntary surrender of the property to the owner or his agent.

There is no common law lien without possession. It is a right created by law in favor of the tavern-keepers, livery-men, pasturers, carriers and mechanics. It may be created by contract between the parties, as in a lease.

"Whatever is affixed to land belongs to the owner of the land, except in a few cases. Hence, carpenters who built houses on the land of others had no lien. But as the principle is just, and the practice beneficial, States have, by law, given builders and persons who furnish material a lien on the land and building, if claimed within a limited time. Under this kind of mechanics' lien, no possession is required. The right to pay the charge and take the property is a right of redemption which is lost by a public sale of the property. The surplus, if any, is paid to the owner.

Liens by State law are generally foreclosed in a court, upon a petition for that purpose. By its decree the property is sold and the proceeds divided according to the rights of the parties.

Liens may, in certain States, be enforced against vessels and wharves as well as buildings, for construction, alteration or repairs. In most States, while the same general principle is maintained, the modes of procedure vary.

A workman desiring the protection of the law for the security of his wages, may draw up a paper, addressed to the county clerk of the county where the work was done, filled up in a manner similar to the following form, setting forth all the circumstances of the work done, his bargain with the contractor, the failure to receive his pay and his fears that he will lose all if his lien is not made. This paper, sworn to before a justice or notary public, as true, is filed in the county clerk's office and becomes a cloud upon the building, which the owner is only too glad, frequently, to remove by paying the debt himself and taking it out of the contractor's bill. In either event the. owner or contractor must pay the debt if it is an honest one.

Notice To The County Clerk

To Philip Best, clerk of the city and county of New York, in the State of New York:

Sir: Please to take notice that I, James Van Horn, residing at No. 45 Conkling avenue, in the city of New York, in said county, have a claim against William Y. Heath, owner (or only contractor, as the case may be) of a new two-story brick dwelling-house, amounting to Nineteen Hundred and Sixty-two Dollars and forty cents, now due to me, and that the claim' is made for and on account of brick furnished and labor done before the whole work on said building was completed, and which labor and materials were done and furnished within three months of the date of this notice; and that such work and brick were done and furnished in pursuance of a contract for twenty thousand serviceable brick and the mason work of putting up the outer walls of said new building, between the undersigned and the said William Y. Heath, which building is situated on lot---------, in block---------, in Wetsel's addition to the city of New York, on the west side of Salina avenue, and is known as No. 432 of said avenue. The following is a diagram of said premises.

[Insert diagram. ] And that I have and claim a lien upon said dwelling-house and the appurtenances and lot on which the same stands, pursuant to the provisions of an act of the legislature of the State of New York, entitled " An act to secure the payment of mechanics, laborers and persons furnishing material toward the erection, altering or repairing of buildings in the city of New York," passed

---------, 18 - , and of the acts amending the same.

New York, December 1, 1882. JAMES VAN HORN.

James Van Horn, being duly sworn, says that he is the claimant mentioned in the foregoing notice of lien;' that he has read the said notice, and knows the contents; and that the same is true to his own knowledge, except as to the matters therein stated on information and belief, and as to those matters he believes it to be true.


Sworn before me this first day of December, A. D. 1882.

J. L. LESLIE, Police Justice.

The lien-laws of certain States provide that any person who shall either labor himself, or furnish laborers or materials for constructing, altering, or repairing any building, shall have a lien therefor upon such building and the specific lot or tract of land on which it is located; but a suit to enforce the payment of said claim must begin within six months from the time the last payment therefor is due. Landlords, also, may enforce a lien for arrears of rent, upon all crops of their tenants, whether growing or matured.