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Understanding the Basics of an ASSP Lien in Construction Law

by Radhe

In the construction industry, an ASSP lien is a powerful legal tool that contractors and subcontractors can use to ensure they are paid for the work they perform on a project. However, understanding the ins and outs of an ASSP lien can be complex. In this post, we will break down the basics of an ASSP lien in construction law to provide you with a comprehensive overview of this important concept.

What is an ASSP Lien?

An ASSP lien (Also known as an After Substantial Start of Performance Lien) is a legal claim against a property that is filed by a contractor or subcontractor who has provided labor, materials, or services for a construction project but has not been paid for their work. This type of lien is typically filed after a significant portion of the work has been completed, hence the name “After Substantial Start of Performance.”

How Does an ASSP Lien Work?

When a contractor or subcontractor believes they are owed payment for work performed on a construction project, they can file an ASSP lien against the property where the work took place. This lien serves as a public notice that the contractor or subcontractor has a claim against the property for the amount owed to them. Once the lien is filed, the property owner may be unable to sell or refinance the property until the debt is satisfied.

Requirements for Filing an ASSP Lien

In order to file an ASSP lien, certain requirements must be met. These requirements may vary depending on the state or jurisdiction, but common requirements include:

  • Providing Notice: Contractors and subcontractors may be required to provide notice to the property owner or other stakeholders before filing a lien.
  • Proof of Work: It is essential to document the work performed, including labor, materials, and services provided.
  • Timely Filing: There is usually a specific timeframe within which an ASSP lien must be filed after the work has been completed.
  • Legal Compliance: Contractors must ensure they are in compliance with all relevant construction laws and regulations when filing a lien.

Enforcing an ASSP Lien

If a contractor or subcontractor files an ASSP lien and the property owner still refuses to pay, legal action may be necessary to enforce the lien. This can involve going to court to seek a judgment against the property owner or pursuing other legal remedies to collect the debt owed.

Protecting Against ASSP Liens

As a property owner, it is essential to take steps to protect against the risk of ASSP liens. This can include:

  • Reviewing Contracts: Ensure that contracts with contractors and subcontractors include clear payment terms and provisions for resolving disputes.
  • Monitoring Payments: Keep track of all payments made to contractors and subcontractors to avoid disputes over unpaid invoices.
  • Seek Legal Advice: Consult with a construction law attorney to understand your rights and obligations regarding ASSP liens.


An ASSP lien is a valuable tool that contractors and subcontractors in the construction industry can use to protect their right to payment for work performed on a project. By understanding the basics of ASSP liens, both parties can navigate the complexities of construction law with confidence.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the difference between an ASSP lien and a mechanics lien?
An ASSP lien is typically filed after a substantial portion of work has been completed, while a mechanics lien can be filed at any time during the project.

2. Can a contractor file multiple ASSP liens on the same property?
Yes, a contractor may file multiple ASSP liens if they have provided separate services for which they have not been paid.

3. Can an ASSP lien be removed once it has been filed?
An ASSP lien can typically be removed by the contractor once they have been paid for the work in question.

4. Can a subcontractor file an ASSP lien directly against the property owner?
In some cases, subcontractors may have the right to file an ASSP lien directly against the property owner if they have not been paid by the contractor.

5. Are there specific time limits for enforcing an ASSP lien?
The time limits for enforcing an ASSP lien can vary by state, so it is important to consult with a legal professional to understand the specific requirements in your jurisdiction.

Understanding the intricacies of ASSP liens is essential for all parties involved in construction projects to protect their interests and ensure fair compensation for work performed. By following the legal requirements and seeking professional guidance when needed, contractors, subcontractors, and property owners can navigate the complexities of construction law successfully.

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