How to Enforce a Mechanic’s Lien

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By: Bill Henry
PublishedMar 23, 2021
4 minute read

A good contractor can turn a home from old to bold with a solid remodeling plan. And for the most part, an experienced crew can carry out a job with a minimum of problems or disruptions. But occasionally, the train comes off the track and it takes legal action to solve the problem that arises on a construction site. That legal action is a mechanic’s lien. This article discusses how to enforce a mechanic’s lien once you’ve filed it.

When It’s Time to Get Paid: Enforce a Mechanic’s Lien 

There opportunities throughout the legal process for a homeowner to settle their debt with you. But if they don’t, and your mechanic’s lien proves to be successful, it’s time for them to pay up.

If just the thought of the homeowner’s house being foreclosed to pay you does not entice them to take action, it’s time for you, the contractor, to consider the next step. That next step: enforce a mechanic’s lien.

Schedule a Case Assessment

If you hire an experienced attorney from Robinson & Henry’s Real Estate Team, you will be represented throughout this phase of the process, as well as every step leading up to it. Call 303-688-0944 to set up a initial assessment with a real estate attorney.

enforce a mechanic's lien

Foreclosure of the Homeowner’s Property

A judge can order the sale of the property to repay the debt if your mechanic’s lien is successful. Any party with an interest in the property must be paid before the owner can claim any profit from the sale. Interested parties can include contractors, subcontractors, and so on.

The Sale Process

The sale of the property usually takes place through a judicial sale or a county sheriff’s auction.

During this process, bids are gathered. There are various steps along the way when parties may redeem the property by paying the amount of the winning bid plus possible additional costs.

The Foreclosure Process Takes Time

When you file a lien against a client’s property you should understand that the process could take months, even years, from beginning to end.

Most Mechanic’s Liens Will Not Get to Foreclosure

It pretty unusual for a mechanic’s lien to progress to the level of a trial. It is very expensive for a homeowner who must pay all of his or her own costs, plus the homeowner could potentially incur your costs. Most foreclosure cases are settled long before a trial ever occurs.

Still, the idea of losing one’s home is often incentive enough for parties to settle without having to actually get to the foreclosure stage.

Many homeowners don’t want to go through the hassle of dealing with a mechanic’s lien or the possibility of going to court. Receiving a letter from an experienced attorney from Robinson & Henry might be just the push they need to settle the debt.

Fight for the Money You’re Owed 

If a client has refused to pay a legitimate bill from a contractor to cover work by subcontractors or building materials, don’t let a lack of legal experience stand in the way of collecting the money that is owed to you.

At Robinson & Henry, we have a team of highly-trained, highly-skilled attorneys who specialize in Real Estate Law. They can evaluate your claim and proceed to guide it through the court system. In the event, your claim proceeds to trial, one of our attorneys can represent you through litigation.

Digging Deeper Into Mechanic’s Liens

What is a Lien?

A lien is simply a fancy legal term for a debt against a homeowner’s property. As you’re probably already aware, if a client fails to pay you or a subcontractor who provided labor or materials for a remodeling project or home repair, you can place a notice of legal debt against the property.

The law applies to laborers as well, but the rules may be different.

It’s a Powerful Legal Tool

In terms of what it can do, a mechanic’s lien may be more powerful than any other in the contractor’s toolbox. Because of its potential to actually force a homeowner to sell his/her home in order to settle the debt against you, courts in Colorado have set very strict parameters for filing a mechanic’s lien, including:

  • The court strictly enforces the time limit for filing a lien
  • The homeowner must be officially notified that a mechanic’s lien has been filed
  • Specific information regarding the property is legally required to be included in the filing

Do You Need An Attorney?

Colorado courts make no demands that you must hire an attorney to help you through all the paperwork. You can certainly do all the legal legwork on your own. But, the courts don’t have special legal advisors on hand for non-lawyers. They’re not going to point out any mistakes you’ve made.

You have to provide the same paperwork as a trained attorney. Remember, the lien can be nullified if one fact is missing or a deadline is missed.

Many Contractors Would Rather Be Safe Than Sorry

After reviewing the lengthy procedures and multiple filing deadlines, many contractors would feel more secure putting the procedure in the hands of an experienced attorney.

At Robinson & Henry, we have an entire department of attorneys who specialize in Real Estate Law. They can file the necessary paperwork with the correct court office and ensure all deadlines are met.

Just in case you’re still unsure what you’re up against, here’s a partial list of required steps:
  • Title Commitment, Foreclosure Certificate, or Litigation Guarantee
  • Certificate of Taxes Due
  • Retainer ($________)
  • Summons
  • Complaint (full caption)
  • Official Notice of Commencement of Action
  • Motion for Appointment of Receiver
  • Order Appointing Receiver
Follow Up
  • Record Lis Pendens (That’s an official notification of a. pending legal action)
  • Update title evidence through recording of Lis Pendens
  • Amend Complaint as necessary
  • Record Amended Lis Pendens if necessary
  • Serve Summons and [Amended] Complaint if possible (personal service)
  • Receivers Oath, Bond, Inventory, Reports
Publication (if necessary)
  • Motion for Publication with Affidavit
  • Order for Publication
  • Summons by Publication
  • Certificate of Mailing
  • Publisher’s Affidavit
  • Notice to Set
  • Setting (___, _; ___ _.M.)
  • Witnesses and/or Exhibits?
  • Affidavits?
  • Judgment and Decree of Foreclosure (full caption)

Schedule a Case Assessment

Most attorneys would be quick to admit they do not want another attorney working on their home remodeling project. So why would a contractor feel comfortable with court proceedings? Call 303-688-0944 to set up a initial assessment with a member of our Real Estate Team. You may also set up that appointment online when you click here.

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