In New Hampshire, any person who, by contract, contributes labor or materials in a value greater than $15 to the building or repairing of a house is legally entitled to payment. By law, that person has an automatic lien on both the house and the land on which it sits. The lien is a legal claim on the value of the property in an amount equal to the unpaid debt. Should the debt remain unpaid, the lien continues for a period of 120 days after the services were performed or the materials were supplied. To secure a lien beyond 120 days, you must obtain a writ of attachment from the local court clerk. This can be done at any time before the expiration of the 120-day period.
Download a “Petition/Motion to Attach With Notice” and the associated instruction sheet from the New Hampshire Judicial Branch website (see Resources). Read through the documents fully.
Complete the petition. List yourself as the petitioner and the homeowner as the respondent. Don't include a case number. Under “Category of Property to Be Attached,” write in the house’s address. Include the outstanding debt owed to you under “Amount of Attachment.” Sign the petition and have the petition notarized.
Submit the petition to the local court clerk. You may have to pay a fee. A copy of the petition is served on the homeowner, who is given the opportunity to object and request a hearing. If a hearing is scheduled, you're notified of the date. Otherwise, after the judge grants permission to attach the property, you receive documentation.
Visit the court clerk and file a writ of attachment. If the clerk doesn't already possess a copy of the judge’s attachment order, she may ask to see your copy. A copy of the writ is served on the homeowner. Successful issuance of a writ of attachment secures your lien on the homeowner's property.
William Carpenter began writing professionally in 2004, working with nongovernmental organizations and business clients while living in China. He maintains clients in China while writing for a variety of U.S. publications. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in economics from Portland State University.