Enforcing a mechanic’s lien is often the last resort for a contractor whose client failed to pay for a home remodeling or repair project.
Real Estate attorney Boyd Rolfson discusses some vital points to remember during a mechanic’s lien enforcement.
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The Mechanic’s Lien
A mechanic’s lien is simply a legal claim against a home or other property.
Why Liens are Filed
The goal of filing a mechanic’s lien, of course, is to get paid. A home remodeling or repair project may be going along smoothly until the client decides he does not want to pay for supplies or labor.
After trying to reason with a difficult client, a contractor may file a mechanic’s lien against the homeowner.
Often, the very act of putting the homeowner on notice that you intend to file a mechanic’s lien against them will bring the homeowner to his or her senses and no other action is necessary.
When a Notice to File Does Not Solve the Problem
So this is where the real work comes in. Filing and enforcing a mechanic’s lien involves non-negotiable deadlines and procedures.
It’s very important that both the process and procedure, as well as the timelines, are strictly followed.
Colorado courts recognize the power of a mechanic’s lien. Following the course of the lien to its logical conclusion, the process would end in foreclosure and the client’s property would be sold in order to pay his or her debt to you.
To make sure the contractor does not casually enter into the enforcement process, the law has top-loaded the filing process with many requirements that must be met.
A missed deadline could render your claim invalid.
Carefully Read the Rules
A mistake as simply confusing dates on the mechanic’s lien could invalidate your lien.
For example, an actual foreclosure lawsuit must begin no later than six months after the last day that either work was performed or materials were provided on the job.
This could easily be confused with the date the mechanic’s lien is actually recorded. So take your time and double-check the language in the documents and how you list dates.
Again, the important date is the last date that work was done or materials were provided. When you locate that date, simply count forward six months and the lawsuit must be filed and enforced within that timeline.
The process for enforcing a lien is actually filing a lawsuit in court.
Other Things to Consider
Before you file a foreclosure lawsuit, it’s very important to know if there are other liens or mortgages are on the property. This information will help you understand what your lien position is on the property before going forward.
You’ll also want to know the value of the property. Why? So you can be sure there is enough equity in the home that you will get paid if the foreclosure process is successful.
These are some important tips to remember when filing or enforcing a mechanic’s lien.
Consider Hiring a Mechanic’s Lien Attorney
You may be a talented contractor who does meticulous work, but lawsuits and court filings are probably outside your area of expertise. No one would blame you for not trying to complete the mechanic’s lien process yourself, especially when you know the slightest mistake could collapse the whole process for you.
At Robinson & Henry, we have a department of experienced attorneys who can help you every step of the way. We know the law and understand what it takes to make a mechanic’s lien work for you.
Get Connected with an Attorney
Schedule some time to talk with an attorney about your case when you call 303-688-0944. You can also schedule online by clicking here.