A lien on real property (see " Lien ")

1 Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia.

Which the law allows to mechanics and labourers for work done, or to those supplying materials, in the construction of buildings or improvements to real property. A lien of this kind should always be recorded in the Register of Deeds' office the same as a mortgage. In buying property, or taking a mortgage on the same, the non-existence of "mechanics' liens" is one of the things to be ascertained. In some States, such liens as the above would precede any claim of the contractor; in others, just the reverse. A mortgage put on a property under improvement - "building mortgage," so called - would, in many States, have prior claim to any "mechanics' liens" afterwards recorded.

In most States, these liens can be enforced against the property by the unpaid employees of a builder or contractor even though the owner has paid the builder or contractor in full. Consequently, all building contracts should provide that the last payment be retained until the time for filing "mechanics' liens" (usually thirty days) has expired, as, otherwise, the owner may be compelled to pay the employees after paying the employer.