Mechanic’s Liens and Leases Don’t Often Mix Well

Businessmen across from table discussing contract

McCarthy Building Companies Inc. v. TPE Virginia Land Holdings LLC is a good primer on the interaction of leases and Virginia mechanic’s liens.

May 3, 2021
Christopher G. Hill - Construction Law Musings

As those who read my “musings” here at this construction law blog are well aware, the topic of Virginia mechanic’s liens is one that is much discussed. From the basic statutory requirements to the more technical aspects of these tricky beasts. One aspect of mechanic’s liens that I have yet to discuss in detail it how these liens attach in the situation where the contractor does work for a lessee and not for the owner of the underlying fee interest in the property.

A recent case out of the Western District of Virginia federal court, McCarthy Building Companies Inc. v. TPE Virginia Land Holdings LLC, discusses the interaction of Va. Code 43-20, work on a leasehold, and parties necessary to any litigation relating to a lien for the work on that leasehold. The basic facts, outlined more thoroughly in the linked opinion, are these. MBC provided certain work to TPE Kentuck Solar, LLC on property leased from TPE Virginia Land Holdings, LLC. The lease was for a fixed term and for a fixed amount regardless of the work performed at the property. MBC was unpaid by the Kentuck entity and then recorded a lien on the property and then sued to enforce that lien and for unjust enrichment against TPE Land Holdings. TPE Land Holding filed a motion to dismiss the mechanic’s lien and unjust enrichment counts.

Mr. Hill may be contacted at chrisghill@constructionlawva.com



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