• Subcontractors Be Aware - District of Columbia Mechanic’s Lien Recordation Requirements
  • November 5, 2015 | Author: Andrew N. Felice
  • Law Firm: Rees Broome, PC - Tysons Office
  • It has long been a challenge to simply record a Notice of Mechanic’s Lien with the District of Columbia Recorder of Deeds office. Recently, that task got even tougher for subcontractors who operate outside of the District of Columbia (i.e., out-of-state subcontractors whose principal place of business is in Maryland or Virginia) but who performed work on projects in the District and wish to avail themselves of the protection of the District of Columbia lien law.

    Before accepting a Notice of Mechanic’s Lien for recordation the Recorder of Deeds (ROD) office now requires (in addition to other various documents) proof that the subcontractor holds a District of Columbia business license. However, the District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) does not issue “subcontractor business licenses” but does issue business licenses for contractors and home improvement contractors.

    Recently, the DCRA refused to issue a Basic Business License to a subcontractor (which presumably would satisfy the ROD and allow a mechanic’s lien to be recorded). Instead, the DCRA insisted that the subcontractor apply for and obtain a contractor business license even though the subcontractor was not conducting business as a “contractor”. Applying for a contractor’s license is more involved than obtaining a Basic Business License. As a result, subcontractors have been obtaining contractor licenses in the District of Columbia simply to allow them to record their Notice of Mechanic’s Lien in the District of Columbia. Since it is more time consuming to obtain a contractor’s license, this new requirement could impact a claimant’s ability to file its Notice of Mechanic’s Lien if he or she is running up against a mechanic’s lien filing deadline.