How to Remove a Mechanics' Lien
Ohio Revised Code sections 1311.01 through 1311.24 govern mechanics' liens in Ohio. There are numerous options for a homeowner to remove a mechanics' lien upon their property:
(1) Pay it off,
(2) File a "Notice to Commence Suit,"
(3) Put up cash or bond to replace the property under lien, or sue the contractor for filing a wrongful lien.
Alternatively, a homeowner can do nothing. This is a viable option if it is unlikely that the contractor will ever foreclose of the lien, because these liens only last for 6 years before they are automatically released. Courts will liberally contrue mechanics' lien laws in favor of lienholders, and strictly scrutinize the steps taken to perfect the lien.
Notice to Commence Suit
A homeowner can force a lienholder's hand by notifying the lienholder to commence suit on the lien. This is done through written notice delivered to the lienholder through formal service. Within 30 days after service is completed, the homeowner must:
(1) Execute an affidavit setting forth the manner in which service was accomplished
(2) Attach to the affidavit: (a) a copy of the notice to commence suit; (b) the Sheriff's return endorsed on the notice or certified mail receipt.
(3) File the items with the recorder's office.
If the lienholder fails to commence suit within 60 days after completion of service, the lien is void.
Put up Cash or Bond to Replace the Property under Lien
The bond or cash amount must be court approved. This process is governed by Ohio Revised Code section 1311.11. Basically what you are doing is putting up enough money to satisfy the lien, so that the lien gets removed from the real property and instead the lien gets placed on the money or bond.
Sue the Contractor for Filing a Wrongful Lien
If the lien was never served to the homeowner, it is invalid. If the contract the lien was based on was cancelled - this could invalidate the lien. If the lien was filed out of ill-will or malice and contains intentionally false statements, the homeowners can sue the contractor for slandering title to their land. Treble damages, attorney's fees, and punitive damages are available to a homeowner to recover against a lienholder for filing a wrongful lien. Additionally, filing a wrongful lien could violate consumer protection laws.
What Does a Homeowner Do When a Lien is Filed Against Their Property?
Aside from paying off a lien, a homeowner generally has three options for dealing with a mechanics' lien: put up a bond to remove the lien from the property, force the lienholder's hand by making them sue on the lien (and in turn have the lien removed if a lawsuit is not filed), or sue the lienholder for wrongfully filing a lien.
Attorneys for Mechanics' Liens