Construction was for the benefit of the tenant only so landlord successful in discharging the mechanic’s liens filed by contractors

In Interior Building Services, Inc. v. Broadway 1384 LLC et al. a number of contractors, including a the general contractor, filed mechanic’s liens and sough to enforce them through a foreclosure action.  All of the construction was provided to a tenant at the property at the tenant’s request.  The only consent provided by the landlord was the consent that was required under the lease.

The property owner (landlord) moved for summary judgment dismissing each of the mechanic’s liens on the grounds that the landlord was not a party to the contract, was not responsible for any expenses of the tenant and did not provide consent for the construction above and beyond any consent that was required under the lease.  While the trial court denied the motion, the Appellate Division found that there were no issues of fact and that each of the mechanic’s liens should be dismissed pursuant to Lien Law Section 3.

Many contractors are unaware that if they are hired by a tenant they do not necessarily have a right to lien the real property where they perform work.  The lien can in almost all instances attach to the leasehold interest but that is not always helpful.  Contractors are used to their mechanic’s lien attaching to the fee interest but if the property owner has not consented to the work to the extent required by the lien law then the mechanic’s lien may be held invalid.

For more information on the landlord’s rights when a mechanic’s lien is filed against work done by a tenant I suggest the following article:

Vincent T. Pallaci is a New York construction lawyer.  You can also visit our website at or feel free to contact me to discuss this issue further at

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