N.Y. Lien Law Section 19
Discharge of lien for private improvement

A lien other than a lien for labor performed or materials furnished for a public improvement specified in this article, may be discharged as follows:


By the certificate of the lienor, duly acknowledged or proved and filed in the office where the notice of lien is filed, stating that the lien is satisfied or released as to the whole or a portion of the real property affected thereby and may be discharged in whole or in part, specifying the part. Upon filing such certificate, the county clerk in the office where the same is filed, shall note the fact of such filing in the “lien docket” in the column headed “Proceedings had” opposite the docket of such lien.


By failure to begin an action to foreclose such lien or to secure an order continuing it, within one year from the time of filing the notice of lien, unless an action be begun within the same period to foreclose a mortgage or another mechanic’s lien upon the same property or any part thereof and a notice of pendency of such action is filed according to law, but a lien, the duration of which has been extended by the filing of a notice of the pendency of an action as herein provided, shall nevertheless terminate as a lien after such notice has been cancelled or has ceased to be effective as constructive notice.


By order of the court vacating or cancelling such lien of record, for neglect of the lienor to prosecute the same, granted pursuant to § 59 (Vacating of a mechanic’s lien)section fifty-nine of this chapter.


Either before or after the beginning of an action by the owner or contractor executing a bond or undertaking in an amount equal to one hundred ten percent of such lien conditioned for the payment of any judgment which may be rendered against the property for the enforcement of the lien:


The execution of any such bond or undertaking by any fidelity or surety company authorized by the laws of this state to transact business, shall be sufficient; and where a certificate of qualification has been issued by the superintendent of financial services under the provisions of Insurance Law § 1111 (Compulsory insurance)section one thousand one hundred eleven of the insurance law, and has not been revoked, no justification or notice thereof shall be necessary. Any such company may execute any such bond or undertaking as surety by the hand of its officers, or attorney, duly authorized thereto by resolution of its board of directors, a certified copy of which resolution, under the seal of said company, shall be filed with each bond or undertaking. Any such bond or undertaking shall be filed with the clerk of the county in which the notice of lien is filed, and a copy shall be served upon the adverse party. The undertaking is effective when so served and filed. If a certificate of qualification issued pursuant to subsections (b), (c) and (d) of Insurance Law § 1111 (Compulsory insurance)section one thousand one hundred eleven of the insurance law is not filed with the undertaking, a party may except, to the sufficiency of a surety and by a written notice of exception served upon the adverse party within ten days after receipt, a copy of the undertaking. Exceptions deemed by the court to have been taken unnecessarily, or for vexation or delay, may, upon notice, be set aside, with costs. Where no exception to sureties is taken within ten days or where exceptions taken are set aside, the undertaking shall be allowed.


In the case of bonds or undertakings not executed pursuant to paragraph a of this subdivision, the owner or contractor shall execute an undertaking with two or more sufficient sureties, who shall be free holders, to the clerk of the county where the premises are situated. The sureties must together justify in at least double the sum named in the undertaking. A copy of the undertaking, with notice that the sureties will justify before the court, or a judge or justice thereof, at the time and place therein mentioned, must be served upon the lienor or his attorney, not less than five days before such time. Upon the approval of the undertaking by the court, judge or justice an order shall be made by such court, judge or justice discharging such lien.


If the lienor cannot be found, or does not appear by attorney, service under this subsection may be made by leaving a copy of such undertaking and notice at the lienor’s place of residence, or if a corporation at its principal place of business within the state as stated in the notice of lien, with a person of suitable age and discretion therein, or if the house of his abode or its place of business is not stated in said notice of lien and is not known, then in such manner as the court may direct. The premises, if any, described in the notice of lien as the lienor’s residence or place of business shall be deemed to be his said residence or its place of business for the purposes of said service at the time thereof, unless it is shown affirmatively that the person servicing the papers or directing the service had knowledge to the contrary. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this subdivision relating to service of notice, in any case where the mailing address of the lienor is outside the state such service may be made by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, to such lienor at the mailing address contained in the notice of lien.


Except as otherwise provided in this subdivision, the provisions of article twenty-five of the civil practice law and rules regulating undertakings is applicable to a bond or undertaking given for the discharge of a lien on account of private improvements.


Upon filing in the office of the clerk of the county where the property is situated, a transcript of a judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction, together with due proof of service of due notice of entry thereof, showing a final determination of the action in favor of the owner of the property against which the lien was claimed.


Where it appears from the face of the notice of lien that the claimant has no valid lien by reason of the character of the labor or materials furnished and for which a lien is claimed, or where for any other reason the notice of lien is invalid by reason of failure to comply with the provisions of § 9 (Contents of notice of lien)section nine of this article, or where it appears from the public records that such notice has not been filed in accordance with the provisions of § 10 (Filing of notice of lien)section ten of this article, the owner or any other party in interest, may apply to the supreme court of this state, or to any justice thereof, or to the county judge of the county in which the notice of lien is filed, for an order summarily discharging of record the alleged lien. A copy of the papers upon which application will be made together with a notice setting forth the court or the justice thereof or the judge to whom the application will be made at a time and place therein mentioned must be served upon the lienor not less than five days before such time. If the lienor can not be found, such service may be made as the court, justice or judge may direct. The application must be made upon a verified petition accompanied by other written proof showing a proper case therefor, and upon the approval of the application by the court, justice or judge, an order shall be made discharging the alleged lien of record.

Source: Section 19 — Discharge of lien for private improvement, https://www.­nysenate.­gov/legislation/laws/LIE/19 (updated Sep. 22, 2014; accessed Dec. 2, 2023).

Dec. 2, 2023

Last modified:
Sep. 22, 2014

§ 19’s source at nysenate​.gov

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