A mechanic’s lien is a security interest in the title to property for the benefit of those who have supplied labor or materials that improve the property, normally the builder or remodeling company. The lien exists for both real property and personal property. In the realm of real property, it is called by various names, including, generically, construction lien. It is also called a materialman’s lien or supplier’s lien when referring to those supplying materials, a laborer’s lien when referring to those supplying labor, and a design professional’s lien when referring to architects or designers who contribute to a work of improvement. In the realm of personal property, it is also called an artisan’s lien.
A general contractor doing repairs or remodeling at your house can go to court and get a mechanic’s lien on your property if you don’t pay him. This means if you sell your house, part of the sale money will go to pay that contractor’s bill. Any prospective buyer is obviously going to be turned off by this. Under Missouri law, only the general contractor – not the subcontractors such as plumbers, electricians, drywallers – can put a mechanic’s lien on your house. That means if you have paid the general, but he doesn’t pay his subs, they can’t put a lien on your house.