In Tennessee, in order to obtain a materialmen’s lien, often referred to as a mechanic’s lien, specific actions must have taken, or are currently taking place. First, the party making the claim must have performed an action that contributed to the improvement of the property. This means that he or she must have done something that created a permanent change. The obvious ideas of this would be demolition, or construction of new rooms or buildings. However, it can also include changes to landscaping.

In addition, a person or business who not only performed the action but supplied the materials to perform the action can also claim a lien against the property to ensure payment for those materials.

When a party begins work on a property, a lien automatically begins to exist for payment on those services and/or materials. This lien is attached only to the interest of the owner of the property. For example, if it is a commercial property, the lien would attach to the leasehold.

Upon completion of the project, or after work has ceased for 90 days, that lien then transfers its attachment to operations of the property. For this reason, it is extremely important that a lienholder secure proof of the exact date that visible operations begin. That date could be the deciding factor as to whose lien takes priority in a court case. The Tennessee Code specifically addresses liens. It is important to consult with an experienced construction law attorney to determine if you are entitled to a materialmen’s lien.