Trying to Avoid Mechanics Lien (long) - Posted by Denise FL

Posted by JoeKaiser on March 08, 2001 at 13:40:50:

Something like that.


Trying to Avoid Mechanics Lien (long) - Posted by Denise FL

Posted by Denise FL on March 07, 2001 at 15:57:35:

Learning by doing is extremely valuable. And I am currently in a situation that I want to AVOID ever getting into again, and also know that there are others out there who have or might in the future experience something similar.

I hired a contractor to rehab a property. Our contract stated ALL the work to be done, the time frame (2 weeks), and the price (which included all materials). After the 2 week period, hardly any work was done, and for almost 3 more weeks I had been strung along. Finally I confronted this guy and he agreed, in writing, that not even 1/4 of the work was completed, and that he was no longer on the job.

I paid for materials only, up to that date. However, he did buy some tile and some other minor supplies. Our original agreement included that he would begin getting paid upon completion of 2 bathrooms and 2 kitchens (as that is when my rehab escrow would be released).

I am a very honest and fair businessperson. However, it has been 4 weeks since he walked off the job, and it has been extremely costly finding others to finish the job. I will propbably incur more than double the expenses that he contracted for, I’ve had 1 1/2 months loss of rent, and now that I have a guy finally who can finish the job properly, this new guy is pointing out all the poor quality work the original guy either did or actually didn’t do.

I originally planned to pay him for some of the materials he purchased, though he couldn’t even return almost $200.00 of the materials I had purchased. And because some of the tile was layed, I was going to pay him for some labor.

But now my expenses are double, my income has been less (rents), the time it is taking is almost 6 times longer than what he stated, and the work he had done is terrible. AND he was supposed to remove the construction debris and didn’t, so I had to pay additionally for a company to come and pick it up.

The last paper he signed admitted to all this; however, he refused to sign a Release of Lien, until he gets paid, and he’s expecting $1000. YEAH RIGHT!

I don’t want to get caught up in court and legal fees, etc. The BIGGEST lesson I’ve learned from this, is that as thourough as I was with the “paper trail,” I neglected to include that if there was any legal proceedings, they would either be the contractor’s responsibility or split. And I want to sell the property at completion of the rehab.

Pleae advise.

Re: Trying to Avoid Mechanics Lien (long) - Posted by Rob FL

Posted by Rob FL on March 08, 2001 at 14:43:42:

In Florida, you are permitted to record a “Notice of Contest of Lien.” This is a document that protests the contractor’s lien and requires the contractor to begin foreclosure proceedings within the next 60 days or else the lien will become null and void. You may want to research up on this some.

Thanks for VERY useful responses!..(nt) - Posted by Denise FL

Posted by Denise FL on March 08, 2001 at 08:35:40:


Re: Trying to Avoid Mechanics Lien (long) - Posted by phil fernandez

Posted by phil fernandez on March 07, 2001 at 18:20:06:

All excellent advice from the other 3 guys who responded. I’ll take a different angle on this. It has been my experience to check and double check these contractors before you get involved with them. For every good contractor there are two bad ones. Once you have a good one,stick with him. I’ve had the same guy for 15 years. Work always gets done on time and he conducts himself in a professional manner.

A good contractor is worth his weight in gold.

Re: Trying to Avoid Mechanics Lien (long) - Posted by JoeKaiser

Posted by JoeKaiser on March 07, 2001 at 16:29:47:

Mechanic liens are not a one way street . . . you take a risk whenever you file a lien that is not a valid claim.

Confirm for him in writing the status of your situation and advise him that filing a lien against your property constitutes “slander of title” and further, should he actually file the bogus lien, advise him that you will immediately file suit against him to remove the lien and in the process . . . ATTACH HIS BOND, NOTIFY HIS INSURANCE COMPANY, CONTACT THE LICENSING BOARD as well as seek a claim for damages, court costs and attorney’s fees.

Contractors with attached bonds and unpaid judgments lose their licenses, their insurance, and their ability to legally conduct business. That stops the “I’m gonna file a lien” conversation more often than not.


Re: Trying to Avoid Mechanics Lien (long) - Posted by JPiper

Posted by JPiper on March 07, 2001 at 16:15:43:


I would say that alot depends on your mechanics lien law. In my state for example, a notice is required from the contractor at a specific time. I have RARELY been given a notice by any contractor…so in my case they automatically had NO leg to stand on in terms of a mechanic’s lien.

The mechanic’s lien law is a technical law, and my guess is that most contractors don’t understand it. Make it your business to understand it before you make a decision here. They vary from state to state.

Chances are even if the contractor files the lien, he will have to perfect it…meaning he has to go to court AND win. While you may not want to spend money on legal fees, I’d almost bet HE doesn’t have the dough for that either…especially over $1000. Here he would need an attorney…and the attorney will laugh him out of his office over $1000.

Looks to me like you’ve done a good and careful job. Next time have a penalty clause in your agreement. And I would have a clause stating that you have the right to hire a new guy, withhold funds until the project is complete, and then pay him the difference…if any.

Meanwhile, learn the law before you decide…but stand firm. This guy doesn’t have the money to pursue this…and you don’t ethically owe this jerk a dime. You’re just now finding out how costly it can get to hire a new guy. And by the way, down at the contractor school, they all learn how to tell you about the other guys defective work. All in all, tell him to pound sand…call his bluff.

You can always change your mind if necessary…but I doubt it will be.


How can I research this easiest? - Posted by Denise FL

Posted by Denise FL on March 09, 2001 at 07:36:19:


Thanks for your reply.
I’ve spoken to my attorney, but am trying to avoid going past the “free advice” time.

Where can I get the right info regarding the “Notice of Contest of Lien?”


Gee…what happened to the Friendly Investor? - Posted by Stacy (AZ)

Posted by Stacy (AZ) on March 07, 2001 at 16:34:20:

Just kidding…

The best defense is a good offense, in this case.


That was friendly . . . (nt) - Posted by JoeKaiser

Posted by JoeKaiser on March 07, 2001 at 19:10:04:


Re: That was friendly . . . (nt) - Posted by Nate

Posted by Nate on March 08, 2001 at 13:21:24:

So, “you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry”… :slight_smile: