When you’ve been supplying provisions of labor and materials to a project, the last thing you want to do is go into the red because the owner decided to not pay you for your work at the last minute. It’s unfortunate that nonpayment occurs in the construction industry, but contractors do have one powerful tool to protect themselves from nonpayment: the mechanic’s lien.
This is one of the best tools contractors have available for procuring due payment, but it’s not a foolproof method. Mechanic’s liens are often filed incorrectly and therefore rejected. When this happens, your options are limited. Fortunately, you can always consult a construction lawyer in Wilmington, NC, to draft you a strongly written demand letter. In many cases, a demand letter will add enough pressure to secure your payment. With that being said, we strongly discourage contractors from penning their own demand letters.
Timing is Everything
Contractors have two ideal opportunities to send a demand letter, but choosing which is best for your needs can be tough without guidance from an attorney who is well-versed in the ins and outs of the construction industry.
Your first opportunity occurs after discovering that the owner does not intend to pay you but before you file a mechanic’s lien. Before filing a mechanic’s lien against the owner’s property, you can send a demand letter to convince them to pay you before taking legal action. Typically, this is a great opportunity to get in touch with a contractor attorney in Wilmington, NC, anyway, since they can assist you with filing the mechanic’s lien if needed.
The second opportunity occurs after you have already filed a mechanic’s lien, but it has been rejected for one reason or another. At this point, it’s a good idea to partner with a construction attorney before sending the demand letter. Since the owner may not know that you have sided with an attorney, it’s a good idea to inform them of your intent to pursue them for reparations with a well-written demand letter that presents your potential case.
Legal Letterheads Speak Volumes
Another reason why contractors should have an attorney draft a demand letter is because a demand letter written on legal letterhead holds more power. Generally, if an owner sees an official letterhead from a reputable law office like Cotney Construction Law, they will recognize that you have access to the resources you need to successfully pursue litigation. Since litigation can result in even steeper financial penalties than simply paying the contractor, many owners will be more willing to oblige your demand letter if written by a contractor lawyer in Wilmington, NC.
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.