Eight-balled by a lien
August 15, 2007 6:56 AM Subscribe
Hired a contractor for a major renovation. Job was completed on time and according to spec. Then--at the end of the affair--my property is slapped with a lien for nonpayment by a third-party supplier!
posted by Gordion Knott to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
During the project, I handed the contractor checks and pre-determined intervals, and he was responsible for paying off suppliers and subs. With this particular snafu, my best guess is that he funneled one of my checks to a creditor from an older project, rather than paying the supplier as he should have. His bad.
My contract indemnifies me against claims from suppliers and subs, so legally, my case is airtight. If the lien drags on, I'll unleash my lawyer and thrash it out in arbitration, if necessary. I'm sure that I'd come out the winner in a legal dispute.
But here's the rub: the contractor is in dire financial straights, from what I hear. Maybe facing bankruptcy. I doubt he could pay off the bill to the supplier, even if he was forced to by the courts.
Could I somehow effect a transfer of the lien (called a "mechanic's lien" or "construction lien" in legal parlance) from my property to the contractor's business? Or is there another way of getting the lien off my back that doesn't involve trying to squeeze funds out of the financially strapped contractor?
Also, assuming I can't clear up this problem immediately, what are the ramifications of the lien down the road? I'm not planing to pull equity out of the property, sell, refinance, etc., so I don't think I need to be too worried now. But are there other issues I may have overlooked?
I know you're not a lawyer or my lawyer, and that I should lawyer up. In fact, I'm already in the process of lawyering up with the attorney who drew up the original contract, but I want to ask everybody's opinion on this to get additional perspectives.