After you have done good work, you deserve to be paid. Unfortunately, even when a subcontractor, contractor, or supplier has provided an outstanding end-product, there still may be delays. When that happens, you may need to file a mechanic’s lien.
The mechanic’s lien is designed to give you a way to collect payment when those in charge of distributing it fail to meet their obligations. It’s a powerful tool, but it’s also one that takes knowledge and experience to use properly. If you need to file a mechanics lien, one of our Lakeland construction lawyers will walk you through the process. In some cases, a notice of intent to file is sufficient to get the other party to pay, but there are a few key things to understand.
Is a Lien the Same as a Lawsuit?
A mechanic’s lien and a lawsuit are different. A mechanic’s lien is a legal remedy that prevents the property owner from selling or transferring property until the debt is paid. The only states where a mechanic’s lien can progress straight into a lawsuit are Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, and New Hampshire. When you file a mechanic’s lien properly, it establishes your right to various privileges related to the property. The best comparison is a homeowner who takes out a mortgage with their bank. They technically own the property, but if they fail to pay their mortgage, the bank can foreclose on their home.
Related: Perfecting a Lien in Florida
What Is a Notice of Intent?
A Notice of Intent (NOI) is similar to a demand letter. After you have sent your preliminary notice, you may need to consider sending an NOI before you proceed to file a lien claim. NOIs carry more weight than preliminary notices, and they can be issued to any relevant parties in your case. It has been reported that, in 47 percent of cases, sending an NOI resulted in the fulfillment of late payments in no later than 20 days. There may be a specific statute of limitations on when an NOI or lien can be filed, so it’s imperative that you contact an attorney who is knowledgeable in lien law.
If the NOI is not met with payment, you’ll need to proceed with filing the lien claim. Filing a mechanic’s lien does not have to be complicated, but it does require knowledge of specific legal requirements.
If you have issues with receiving payment from a subcontractor or property owner, Cotney Construction Law’s experienced attorneys can provide sound legal advice to construction professionals at every level and assist your firm with any construction need. Not only do we advise our clients on legal matters, but we also provide a myriad of other valuable services for construction businesses, including contract review, employment law advice, and litigation and arbitration services. We also advocate for clients involved in licensing complaints, permitting issues, stop-work orders, business immigration, and more.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.