What the heck is a Mechanic's Lien - Posted by Todd

Posted by chris_wa on March 23, 2002 at 06:15:49:


“A smart business man knows when to cut his financial losses and sometimes, walking away is cheaper than fighting.”

I agree with you whole-heartedly on this point…unfortunately…there are people out there that count on YOU utilizing this notion.

Been there…done that…

lost the battle AND the war…

What the heck is a Mechanic’s Lien - Posted by Todd

Posted by Todd on March 22, 2002 at 14:01:05:

Joe K has a course on it. I never heard of a Mechanic’s Lien.
What da heck???

Re: Real life story - Posted by Gary

Posted by Gary on March 22, 2002 at 19:25:54:

I’m a contractor and had to file a mechanics lien once.
The woman hired me to remoldle her bathroom. Well, it turned out she needed her bathroom gutted 100% including floor joist due to moisture rot. Anyway, she paid me my down payment and work began. She made “as agreed to contract” payments along the way as work progressed. This way I would not be out any money due me for labor and materials along the way should she try to cheat me. I reap the rest of my profit at the end when the job is done. When the job was finished, she signed off on the contract as being fully satisfied with the work and materials. Well, I ask for the final payment and here comes the song and dance routine. She says, I have to get the money next week so come back. Ok, next week, she says to meet her at her house at such and such time. Well she pulls a no-show, again and again. She then says she wants a receipt and I told her the cancelled check is proof of final payment as well as her copy of the contract showing all payments that have been made with check number, amount and date listed. Well, I had it at this point. I filed a mechanics lien on her property and personally delivered the notice. When she thought she was getting a receipt, I gave her the lien notice. Didn’t want to pay sherriffs office each time they try to deliver. She had a fit. Wish I had a video camera at the time, maybe could have won the funniest video award on tv. Anyway, I told her that I would release the lien when I got paid in full with cash or a certified check from the bank ( no partials) and that I would gladly take 12% interest on the balance in the mean time. I got a call in less than two hours and she said to come and get the money. I did and get this, she paid me in all crisp 100 dollar bills cash. I proceded to release te lien the next day and life went on.

Point of story… cover your as…


Re: What the heck is a Mechanic’s Lien - Posted by Trevor MN

Posted by Trevor MN on March 22, 2002 at 14:15:05:

Subcontractors sometimes will file a “mechanic’s lien” on a property in attempt to collect any payment due to them for labor and/or materials used to improve the property.

Re: Real life story - Posted by Tim Fierro (Tacoma, WA)

Posted by Tim Fierro (Tacoma, WA) on March 22, 2002 at 23:23:15:


Just curious, but did you tack on fees for the trouble and interest; or did you just accept the money due for the final balance?

Re: What the heck is a Mechanic’s Lien - Posted by Bruce McCoy

Posted by Bruce McCoy on March 22, 2002 at 16:27:53:

Here’s an example of a Mechanic’s Lien:

A homeowner decides to have a pool installed. He signs the contract and pays the money. The pool contractor hires subcontractors to do some of the work. Dig the hole, install the plumbing and electrical, etc.

The job is started and the Pool contractor declares bankruptcy and doesn’t pay the subcontractors who are actually doing the work. The subcontractors want their money but are not being paid. They have a right to apply for a mechanic’s lien against the property on which they’re performing services. In a worst-case scenerio, the homeowner has already paid the primary contractor the money. That contractor fails to distribute the funds to the subcontractor. The work is not finished. The homeowner is required to pay the amount owed to the subcontractor in order to get out from under the lien. Failure to do so could result in an unintended foreclosure.

Bottom line, be careful out there. Check out any potential contractors’ financial position.

Hope that helps.

Re: Real life story - Posted by Gary

Posted by Gary on March 23, 2002 at 24:59:12:


This happened in a time span of about a week from start to finish. No, I did not tack on any fees or such due to the fact it was only about a week and I didn’t want to risk losing several hundred verses 20 bucks and 1 week in interest. My only expense here was some additional trips to her house, 2 trips to the court house, 20 bucks and some aggravation. The second trip to the court house was to release the mechanics lien. If you don’t release the lien when paid, they can drag you into court. It wasn’t really out of my way because the building permit office is next door. How convenient. If this went on for months then yes I might tack on additional costs depending on the situation. Every situation is different so you have to analyze each one based on the circumstances surrounding the case. I’m looking at the bigger picture here. You heard the saying " a bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush".

Some times you can win the battle but lose the war. I’ll explain.

Say a person owes you $5000 and the situation comes down to you having to take them to court. OK, your in court and due to motion after motion or whatever, or they reschedule the trial due to their attorney not being able to be there on that day and you don’t know this until your in court that day. You now lost a days work and pay. Next court date, another day lost. This may or may not go on for a while. Every situation is different. Now, it’s the big day when every thing is to get settled and lets say you win the case. Great, you got your 5k now but it costs you 8k to do it. You won the battle but lost the war. You ended up with a net loss of 3k not to mention time, other expenses and other money making ventures you could be doing during this time. Did I mention that even though you won, you still have to be able to collect the 5k. If they do not pay up guess what…back in court. Oh, but what if you lost in court. Now your out even more money…ouch.

Point is, when a person is giving you 2k in CASH (cash is king) you do not squable over 20 bucks in filing fee. If you do and they say the hell with paying you, you got two options: 1 walk away and lose the 5k remaining money or 2 go to court and roll the dice because there is no guarantee you will win. It is a crap shoot. I like being able to sleep at night, not worrying about court the next morning.

Court: Been there, done that. Don’t want to do it again.

A smart business man knows when to cut his financial losses and sometimes, walking away is cheaper than fighting. Fortunately I never had to walk away.
Cover your tracks and you will minimize any losses.