Kiritsis & Associates


A quick overview of the private versus public improvement legal issues, as it concerns mechanic liens in New York.

Jul 30, 2021

Kiritsis Law Group 212 922 0005

By John Kiritsis, Esq., CPA, MBA, MS, JD, LL.M


Depending on whether we are dealing with private as opposed to public improvement, it may likely impact the practice of construction law, in at least 2 aspects. Firstly, it may influence what the underlying legal rights and responsibilities are to be conferred by mechanic's liens. Secondly, it may impact how to go about drafting, reviewing and finalizing any underlying construction type of contractual agreements.


The differences between mechanic’s liens on private versus public improvements, are often overlooked. Liens on privately owned improvements are governed in a different section of the Lien Law (Lien Law Section 3) than liens on publicly owned improvements (Lien Law Section 5). The main difference between a privately owned and publicly owned improvement, is where the mechanic’s lien is attached. Mechanic’s liens on private improvement attaches to the real property being improved (often recorded in registry of deeds). Mechanic’s liens on public improvements are filed against the money, state or public corporation appropriated for the specific public improvement (filed with the city). It is not clear what happens if an improvement is at least partially funded by a public agency, but owned, in part or whole, by a private entity.


After reviewing hundred of New York and New Jersey construction contracts , by far and away, one of the more common mistakes made with regards to preparing a construction contract, is lack of fundamental understanding of the laws surrounding mechanic's liens, as well as, failure to appreciate their possible legal effect on real property and projects.


The views expressed by this author is not legally binding nor reflective of the author per se, the author's firm, the author's employers, the author's employees or any individual and/or organization.


Sources and potentially useful references:

New York State Constitution

U.S. Constitution

New York State Bar Association

New York City Bar Association

New York State Court of Appeals

New York Court of Claims

New York Appellate Division Court

New York Appellate Term Court

New York Supreme Court

New York Real Property Law

Warren's NY Real Property Law

NYS Lien Laws

Section 43 New York State Lien Law



New York General Obligations Law

New York City Department of Finance

Lien Law Section 3

Lien Law Section 5

New York State Appellate Departments

Lien Law Section 2.03

Real Property Law Section 339

Lien Law Section 9 (NYS)

Lien Law Section 10 (NYS

Section 11 of New York Lien Law

Lien Law Sections 34, 39 & 59

Robert P Frink v Dudley Bierau et al, 212 NYS2d 869Section 13 of New York Lien Law

Leonard Engineering, Inc. v. Zephyr Petroleum Corporation, 522 NYS 2dSection 22 New York Affidavit Form

Monroe Sav. Bank v. First Nat'l Bank 50 App Div2d 314 -- 4th Dept 1976

Nanuet Nat'l Bank v. Ackerson Terrace, Inc. 417 N.Y. S. 2d 901

HNC Realty Co. V. Golan Heights Developers, 360 NYS2d 954

Aspro Mechanical Contracting, Inc. v. Fleet Bankyrd Underground, LLC v. Anguar, LLC (332 P3d 273 Nev Adv Op 62)

Kiritsis Law Group


Our law firm provides comprehensive legal service solutions in the practice area of

construction law.  Below is a partial list of services that our law firm may be able to

assist you with regards to your construction law needs:


Construction Law Contracts

Construction Contracts

Construction Litigation

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Drafting of Construction Contracts

Negotiating Construction Contracts

Finalization of Construction Contract Agreement Documents

Redlining of Construction Contract Agreements

Construction Loan Agreements

Mechanic Lien Recordation

Hypothentication/Real Property Deed Transferring Services for the construction industry

Escrowing services for construction industry professionals 

Due diligence services for construction industry professionals

Construction Project Financing Agreement

Construction Contract Templates

Guarantee Agreements ancillary to construction contracts

Construction equipment lease agreements

Construction equipment sale agreements

Construction services agreement 

Construction materials agreement

Mechanic Lien Waiver Contracts

Construction Industry Bond Payment Agreements

Tax & Accounting Compliance Services for the construction industry.

Construction contract risk assessment management 

Construction contract performance issues

Construction contract claims avoidance issues

Construction contract compliance services

Project documentation issues in construction contracts

Change and Design issues in construction contracts 

Differing site conditions and delay provisions in NYC construction contracts

Scheduling and acceleration construction contract provisions

Resolution of construction litigation/dispute related insurance claims

Employment Issue resolution services for the constructi

Collective Bargaining Agreement for the construction industry

Environmental issues provisions for construction contracts in New York City

Creditor-debtor issues in construction law

Construction Law OSHA type violations

Key provisions in New York City construction contracts

Default provisions in New York City construction project contracts

ADR provision in construction contracts

Assignment provisions in construction contracts

Breach of contract provisions in construction contracts

Cancellation address issues in NYC construction issues

Commercial General Liability Insurance Coverage Provisions in Construction Contracts

Completion Date clauses in NYC construction contracts

Contract price provisions in NYC construction contracts

Down payment construction contract provisions and clauses

Overview of New York 

Payment to Contractors clauses in construction project contract agreements 

Sign & Stamp; Date provisions in construction contracts

The dos and don’ts regarding the signing instructions of a construction contract

Right to cancel provision in construction contracts

Warranties provisions in construction contracts

Workers compensation insurance coverage provisions regarding construction contracts

under New York Laws

Construction contract clauses regarding work product ownership


Law Offices of Kiritsis & Associates 

Phone # 212 922 0005

Manhattan Office (Main Office):

633 Third Avenue

New York, NY 10017

Suite 1306

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Brooklyn, NY 11228

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New Jersey Office:

7309 Ventnor Avenue

Ventnor, NJ 08406

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