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What is a Mechanic's Lien?

Michael Pollick
Updated Jan 30, 2024
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A mechanic's lien is a legal process that seeks to guarantee payment for contracted services rendered on an improved piece of property. Depending on the laws of a particular location, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers can file this lien within a certain amount of time after the work has been completed and payment has not been received. It extends to both the structure and the land beneath it. Until the debt is paid, the landowner does not own a clear title.

Originally, a mechanic's lien was almost exclusively sought out by an actual mechanic. If an owner of an automobile contracted for repair services and failed to pay the bill, the mechanic could place a lien on the car's title. This meant filing a claim in a local magistrate's office. In essence, this meant that the owner of the car must pay off the debt before the title could be transferred cleanly to a third party. If the owner decides to pay the bill voluntarily, the lien is lifted.

This practice eventually found its way into the construction world. A property owner might seek out a contractor to build an apartment complex, for example. A project like this would require licensed subcontractors such as carpenters, masons, general laborers, and landscapers. All of these workers would require supplies from outside vendors.

The assumption is that the owner of the property will eventually pay the contractor, who will in turn pay all of the subcontractors, and so on. Construction projects are often started and finished without such guarantees, however, which gives the property owner much more leverage over the contractor. If the property owner doesn't feel like paying, it's not as if the workers can just remove the building and sell it elsewhere.

It is this inequality during the contracting and construction phase that makes this type of guarantee so appealing to contractors and vendors. Instead of finishing a project and hoping that the property owner is a scrupulous business person, the very threat of a lien can guarantee payment. In fact, many places require that any contractor or vendor must first file a 20 day notice before pursuing an official mechanic's lien. Some property owners may dread receiving this notice, but the contractor must file it in order to qualify for the actual lien.

A mechanic's lien is not a fast cure for money woes, but it does offer more legal protection than not filing one. Some contractors view it as a last resort, since they usually want to establish a good working relationship with property owners whenever possible.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to WiseGeek, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.
Discussion Comments
By lljames59 — On Nov 10, 2013

I will try to condense the picture. I have only one sibling, my brother. My mother purchased a mobile home and asked my boyfriend to renovate not only the mobile home, but also the rental space the mobile home sits on. It was made clear that the mobile home would someday be mine because my brother refused to help my mother with anything. He went to the movies the day we moved her in, etc. In essence, the home would be left to me and my boyfriend (together almost 20 years at the time), so the work was basically an investment in our future.

Taking that into consideration, my boyfriend charged my mother a very minimal amount for the work and I was paid nothing. We stayed at my mom’s place while the work was being done, as did my brother. It took the better part of a year to complete the majority of the work since we not only remodeled inside, but we also landscaped the entire yard, which required a lot of prep work because my mother wanted the existing plants, shrubbery, and decorative yard rocks removed.

Throughout the entire process, my boyfriend typically charged my mom $50 to $100 per job. If he had been working at a stranger’s home he would have charged a great deal more. Some jobs he didn't charge her for at all because he knew we would be enjoying the benefits of his work in the future.

Although my brother was living there, he refused to help with any of the work. I worked on many of the projects with my boyfriend and for several reasons I was not paid. This was full time work, not just a couple of hours here and there.

At some point, the arguing between my mother and my brother boiled over and my brother left. My boyfriend moved out when the work was completed and I eventually moved out also. My brother, on the other hand, moved back in and has been living there ever since. He still does nothing to help my mother and she continues to put up with him. I return to my mother’s house every year to get her yard ready for the summer. I pull weeds, plant new items, and in general, I clean up all of the flower beds and get the yard looking good again, since my mother is getting too old to do most of the work that is necessary. I stay with my mother during the summer months because my health is not great and the summer heat is too much for me, so the air conditioning at my mother’s place helps me.

One other matter we did discuss was the storage sheds. At the home where my mother lived before moving, I had a storage shed and my mother had a storage shed. Her new place only had one small storage shed, so I rented a storage room from a local facility. The shed at my mother’s was too small for all of her things and she wanted to purchase a larger one. She made a deal with me and my boyfriend that, if we put her new shed up for her, we could have the smaller shed. We had to haul small rocks and gravel to level a large area of her yard for the new shed. We built her new shed and got our belongings out of storage ant put them into the smaller shed. Now we’re years down the road, and my brother has lived at my mother’s rent free for years and has remained just as useless as always. Any work needing to be done is done by someone my mom has hired or my boyfriend.

Things suddenly changed when my brother was approved for Social Security disability. He is in debt to my mother for thousands of dollars, but after receiving disability for several months, my mother has requested that he and his girlfriend (who recently moved in) pay $300 a month rent. My mother has a history of mental abuse towards me and caters to my brother for some unknown reason.

Recently, she made a comment that has me concerned. I brought up the fact that my brother has never done anything at all to help her and the house is not going to be his in the end so he should not be allowed to act like he owns the place just because he is giving her $300 a month rent. I reminded her that my boyfriend and I did all of the work to make the house what it is now, with the understanding that it would be our home when she passes away so my brother needs to understand his place, and that is not as the king of the house. My mother said, "That was then, this is now.”

I need to know if my boyfriend and I can file a lien on the property to protect our investment and the verbal contract made by my mother for which work was performed for a fraction of its value -- some even free.

By anon332371 — On Apr 28, 2013

I started work for a subcontractor a month and a half ago, cleaning office buildings at night by myself. She said I would get paid once a month. She gave me my first check, which was for only two weeks. She still owes me for three weeks. The same day, she said she gave her 30 days notice and she was quitting. Two days later, the contractor that hired her wanted me to meet him at the office building to train the new subcontractors and if I wanted, I could start working for them for less money doing the same thing I had done before. So I said wait a minute. I need to get paid from the other subcontractor first and I wasn't going to hand over the keys until I got my three weeks pay. The next day I gave the keys to the women at the front desk anyway, but still haven't gotten my pay for 70 hours of hard work.

The contractor said he was not liable for the pay, that she owes me, not him. What should or could I do to get my pay? She should have paid me up front when she quit. This is really bad.

By anon296080 — On Oct 09, 2012

I am not a contractor, but I have done handyman work for over 50 years. I rented an apartment last August from a lady who said she owned the property. The apartment was trashed. The carpet had been there for years. The entire building has been handled by a slumlord manager.

We rented the apt with the understanding that the manager would supply the materials and our labor would go towards the deposit of $1,000 first month's rent of $1,000. There was extensive termite damage and floor damage, and no hot water heater.

Each time I asked for materials paint, a new heater, a sander to sand the floors, etc., she told me to get it and we would settle up later. It took me about two months to complete everything. We met with the manager and signed our agreement and didn't get a copy. She said she would get a copy and mail or bring it to me. She never did.

After not getting what I was owed for materials, I looked up to see if she was the owner and she was not. I contacted the owner and told her what was going on. She said she was very appreciative because she had already paid the manager for the repairs. Then the owner stopped calling me and the manager brought me a rental agreement that had been altered with an additional statement saying the tenants agree to pay for all materials and labor for the $1,000 deposit and $1000 in rent. The materials alone were about $3,000. Can I file a mechanics lien on the owner? Is there a time limit?

By anon214116 — On Sep 13, 2011

We did a barter with a guy who runs a large marina. He told me if i did new countertops in his boat he would fix ours (water in #1 cylinder). I did his countertops and he replaced the right exhaust manifold and said it was fixed.

We took the boat out on Lake Michigan for the day, and

when we tried to start it we blew the engine. I took it back and he said we needed a new engine and took it out and had it rebuilt. He said it was fixed, but it did the same thing. I limped it back on one engine again.

He said he called sea ray and they told him it needed a flapper valve in the exhaust. He called me and said it was fixed.

We took it our again, and it did it again, so we limped it back again, and then he said that engine has three cracks in it and he was ordering a new rebuilt. He did not ask me if that is what we wanted or discuss a price we just thought he was taking care of us (we are into six weeks now).

He put the rebuilt in and called and said it was fixed. we took it out again and now we have not been able to use it because the battery systems is got wires hanging not even attached. It is not going back there again.

They called with a $8,000 bill.

We feel like we should pay something, however, but not that. This was a barter deal gone really bad. He got a beautiful 50' boat. We got nine weeks of the summer without a boat and a huge bill.

If we pay something, can they put a mechanic's lien on the boat? Barter deal wrong.

By anon135461 — On Dec 18, 2010

Here is my situation in NJ: I took my jeep in for service some rust repair and a three inch lift. We agreed on a original estimate of 1500 and change. I explicitly stated that I wanted new leaf springs and not add a leafs. He stated that he would install a new Rubicon express lift kit with new leafs.

I left him a 900 dollar deposit and the jeep. He called and said he needed to replace all the brake lines too. I went to pick up the finished jeep and was told that i owed an additional 1800 dollars on top of the deposit of 900. I asked why, and he said for the brake work some additional welding and "i took the liberty of installing lower control arms and sway bar disconnects."

I paid the owners son, and i took the jeep home. upon inspection of the jeep i found that door molding was removed, and not replaced, there were bolts sticking out into the wheel well area, the brake lines in the wheel well areas where rusty, (obviously not new), and there were bolts sticking out into the rear wheel wells.

He used add a leafs and new or used stock leafs, not the Rubicon express leafs and kit he promised. Worse yet, they put the add a leaf and spacer block in but didn't shekel it to the rest of the leaf pack. The leaf is just sticking straight across acting as nothing more than a spacer. There is now a clucking noise under neath the jeep when driven, the front sway bar disconnects which he installed are so loose they they serve no purpose except to make noise, so it is like driving without any sway bar.

There were a couple more minor things like he over torqued the lug nuts so i could not get them off as well. I took the car back to the shop the following day. the owner's son told me i was trying to scam him into helping me install my front tires (i had already installed the rear, snapping a stud in the process). i asked him about the door molding and he flatly told me he never had it. I took the car home, placed a stop payment on the check, sent the owner a certified letter stating all my complaints.

he responded saying i was committing fraud, and that he would tow and impound my jeep unless he was paid in full. He is now saying he will be getting a lien. Is there any defense or recourse i have? I have possession of the jeep currently. He is trying to take advantage of me for work that i will have to redo elsewhere. any help is appreciated. Thanks much.

By anon133616 — On Dec 11, 2010

Virtually everyone posting here needs to research mechanic's liens in your own state. Just look up "mechanic's lien [state name]", for example "mechanic's lien Alabama" (no quotes) and you will find tons of information on the rules and requirements specific to your state.

I found this site by looking for information on liens in Alabama. For Alabama generally, you must apply within six months of completion of work. I don't think a lien is the approach to get rid of items that have been sitting around for eight years. That is probably the same as a landlord seizing abandoned property.

A quick chat with a lawyer should make it all legal to take ownership and pay for it because it is abandoned.

For the woman who wants to put a lien on the home of the builder that defrauded her, that is generally not possible because the lien must be against the property that was "improved" by her since she would be filing the claim.

Since she did no work on the builder's home, there is no claim against the builder's property, which is probably why she was laughed out. In that case you need to lawyer up immediately because you have a potentially serious case of malpractice and fraud against the builder. The question is, if the husband and father work in construction, why wasn't this caught during the home inspection before purchase?

Why weren't the plans looked at beforehand? Not casting blame, but I would think that is due diligence for someone with that background. Just saying. Still, it seems pretty clear that you were defrauded.

By anon108318 — On Sep 02, 2010

I own a frame shop in Alabama. Some customers have framed work still here since 2002. Is there a mechanics lien option in the state of Alabama by which I can sell the item. I have contacted the Attorney General's office in Montgomery but no one could give me an answer.

By anon106217 — On Aug 24, 2010

we own an auto repair shop, and we have a lot of unpaid overdue invoices. i believe a lot of them are really old and they are still not paid. can we still get a mechanics lien on these invoices?

Also, if we don't have the car in our possession, would we need a copy of the car's title to fill out the mechanics lien paperwork? What information would i need to fill out a mechanics lien? any info would be appreciated.

By vpel2009 — On Jun 25, 2010

About 1 1/2 years ago i had traded a four-wheeler and trailer for a van and 1,100 dollars. i got all but $400 and he told me he doesn't have the title. i don't care about the $400 --i just need to register it so i can drive it. can i put a lien on it to obtain a title?

By anon86470 — On May 25, 2010

Me and four others did some cable work for a company and we are owed our last check and the 10 percent hold he took out of every check. The owner of the company has not paid us and says he will not pay until comcast pays him the invoices for the work. It has been almost three months now, Is there any thing we can do with this Mechanics Lien? Thank you Ds8714

By anon74235 — On Mar 31, 2010

A mechanic's lien is an excellent way for a contractor to secure itself against non-payment. Of course the mechanic's lien itself does not do much. If you actually want to get paid you have to enforce the lien through a lawsuit.

By anon74006 — On Mar 30, 2010

I've done a lot of work as a sub-contractor and not getting paid. Any liens I can place on the business that we did the work for in order to stop them from opening their business until all funds are paid.

It's happening all over in Georgia and causing me to go to court with our suppliers because owners will not pay. Help please.

By anon69411 — On Mar 08, 2010

I have put a mechanics lien on an item I fixed. The guy won't pay. What happens next or what can I do next to resolve this issue? I need payment so I can pay my sub-contractors. Anybody with info let me know.

By anon66824 — On Feb 21, 2010

I have filed lien papers with the courts on a car that has been stored in my shed for 6 years. No payment of storage fees. What happens after the papers are filed and copies sent to the owner?

By anon65586 — On Feb 14, 2010

I rent apartments and need advice as to what to do when a tenant leaves items in the apartment. I was informed that i should file a mechanics lien of some sort. What should i file.

By anon62450 — On Jan 26, 2010

We bought a house from the owner/builder (huge mistake) who said he had permits 2/3 lie. He only permitted first 2 floors.

The third floor required an engineer, which they didn't bother to get. I wanted to hang curtains and have always mounted them in the header (the wood above and below a window) and couldn't find one.

I went to building department, they even had the so-called plans on 10" x14" paper and it in no way resembled what he had built. My husband was in construction and so was my Dad, he even drew plans; very detailed ones. My young grandson (six years old) could have done better.

The plans stated he was using 4"x12" headers and to date, we haven't found even one. The sunlight basement has practically no headers at all, we did find 2"x8" on narrow side for a header and two more floors on top of that.

We recently had a 6.5 quake on the coast; we're two 1/2 hours inland and were terrified at the way the house reacted. We used to live in S. Calif. and am now in N. Calif.

I'd like to put a lien on the house of the people who sold it too us with all of their lies and distortions.

The county building department said there was nothing we could do; the county is teflon coated. I have checked with DA's office -- big laugh, attorney general - another laugh. What good are all of these laws we have on the books and they're not there for things like this?

The sellers said "as is," which the building department says isn't so because they didn't permit the third floor.

I can't sell it unless I lie like them and cheat someone else. The realtor was put out of business because of shady practices shortly after we bought it. Hindsight is great ain't it?

This was my husband's dream home for his retirement. So much for that. First home out of four in 37 years and they got us good.

By anon56859 — On Dec 17, 2009

I have a jeep that is currently sitting at a mechanics shop. when i first took it there, i informed them that i did not have a job, and would not be able to pay them until i got one. i owe them 134 dollars for the minor repairs they already did.

I informed them i would pay them as soon as i got a job. they called me two days ago, informing me i now owe them over 900 dollars for 62 days of storage on top of the other fee.

i told them i have only had a job for three weeks now. they are threatening to put a mechanics lien against it.

i am willing to pay the 134 tomorrow in cash. can they screw me like this?

By anon52927 — On Nov 17, 2009

A contractor completed the repairs to my home when it was damaged by a large tree falling on it. When it was finished, he signed the waiver of lien so final payment would be released by my mortgage company.

The contract amount was paid in full. Then he sent me a another bill which I didn't contract for and which I refused to pay. He is putting a mechanic's lien against my property. Can he do that?

By anon49595 — On Oct 21, 2009

We are painters and we completed a small job on the outside of this persons house. The house is up for sale and it is now empty. We have called numerous times and left messages asking if he could please pay us. It's not like it's a huge amount of money. He never answered, and a week later he finally calls and says we won't be seeing any money for 90 days. Is he able to wait that long to pay us our money? Seems very unethical to me. He was at the house when the job was finished. This guy is supposed to be a contractor as well. Sounds like it's time to get a hold of the local BBB. If he doesn't pay, is this something that we can file a lien on? So he can't sell the house till our bill is paid.

By pollick — On Sep 22, 2009

I'm not sure if a mechanic's lien can extend to anything outside of storage and repair expenses. There are laws concerning abandoned property which would allow a property owner or landlord to dispose of it without penalty, but I'm not sure if this applies to a car with a title. The current owner may have to sign over the title to you first before you can legally dispose of it yourself. A mechanic's lien would probably prevent the current owner from selling it to a third party.

By anon44302 — On Sep 06, 2009

I have had an abandoned vehicle (car) on my property for several months now. I am a licensed mechanic and need to get title to this car to get it out of here. Can I put a mechanics lien on it and obtain a title?

By anon44102 — On Sep 04, 2009

I cleaned a rental property in July for someone who apparently is known for not paying his bills. I have cleaned for him one other time and he was a little slow to pay on that job -- three weeks. It been seven weeks. He does not respond to phone calls but has made numerous promises to send me a check. Can I file and mechanic's lien on his property?

By anon44079 — On Sep 04, 2009

A painter was repainting/staining some of our interior as part of warranty work on our custom house. The contractor wouldn't pay him--said it was an 'upgrade' to our house. Painter filed a lien on us to pay him. We are pressuring contractor to pay his sub, but no budging. Any advice? How long does a lien stand? Andy

By anon43353 — On Aug 27, 2009

In 1976, I agreed to store a car in my barn for a couple of years, until the owner, my father, found a place for the car. It was going to be towed away because of township ordinances. My father died in 1982, and the car was never mentioned again until 2003. My brother, who had never seen the car or mentioned it in 27 years, had my mother sign the title over to him and now wants the car. I told him there is storage due on the car and he thinks I should have stored it for nothing since he is "family." I would like to know if this qualifies for a mechanic's lien?

By anon42329 — On Aug 20, 2009

I am a licensed home inspector and performed an inspection for a client buying a house. He ended up buying the house and utilized information he received from my report to negotiate repairs before the close of escrow. I have tried to collect for several months and he still has not paid me for my services. Can I file a mechanics' lien?

By anon39957 — On Aug 05, 2009

Depending on what state you are in, a notice of some sort which depends on the state again needs to be submitted to the owner of the property, the general contractor, lender and bonding agent if one exists on the job. This must be done prior to anyone being able to file and record a mechanic lien. You must have all owners listed and served in the notice and lien. if you fail to notify all parties correctly your lien is invalid and may subject you to monetary penalties. Penalties apply only if the lien is considered to be invalid. Notices do not encubmer a property, but the lien does. I own a national lien service and would love to help anyone that is having problems getting paid on any job they do.

By mmarcum — On Jul 30, 2009

I am a tile installer and finished a job about a month ago. I created the estimate on my excel program with my laptop. The homeowner requested that two estimates be given: one for the two bathrooms floors and tub surround, and another for her kitchen backsplash, backdoor entry, and around the fireplace. The bathroom estimates were $3800 and the kitchen misc was $2400. After she was given the estimate she said she could not afford both estimates and wanted us only to tile both bathrooms first.

While tiling the bathrooms I ran into numerous problems including loads of water damage due to the homeowner’s lack of up keep to her rental property, which she now intends to sell. These problems caused the estimate to increase by 600 dollars, bringing the final bill to $4400. I tried to contact her when I ran into problems yet she had left on vacation for 2 weeks. However a day before I was to complete the job (i.e. remove old previously installed tile with a trailer) I gave the homeowner the final bill which she stated she would not pay because she wrote down the $2400 estimate instead of the $3800. I did not print off the estimate I only showed it to here on my laptop and assumed she was competent enough to read. Although, before we started I gave her a flier that quoted our price per square foot for the installation of her flooring and backsplashes which I actually lowered by a dollar a square foot to help her out.

So I have one thing left to do so the job will be finished. However once she stated that she would not pay the bill thus I stopped working all together until we would have an agreement on final payment.

She sent me a letter that stated she would pay the agreed $2400, which was not agreed to by me, only when the job was completed. She wanted me to install and pay for the baseboards which was not included in the estimate. Then she went on to say that we had poor workmanship, excessive billing, lack of documentation, and the job was not competed. There was absolutely no poor workmanship yet she says this because there was no baseboards installed, which was *not* in original estimate. The only thing not complete was the removal of the old tile that is still setting next to their house, which I will remove once I have good faith final bill will be paid. As for the lack of documentation, I showed her the receipts which she has refused to return, however I still have a credit card bill with many of her charges. As I have said she wrote down the wrong estimate and $2400 was not the agreed estimate. I then sent her intent to file a mechanics lien for the $2700 that was left unpaid.

She responded with another letter stating that she wants a full refund of the $1700 that she has paid us. I don't understand how she can thinks she can do this when I went out of my way and purchased everything for the job and used all the money she gave me and I even put more than $400 of the materials on my credit card. I have made no money so far and even had to pay my hand $300 for helping us, and still have myself and my brother (co-owners) to pay.

Will the estimate and other things create a problem with filing and receiving a mechanics lien?

By anon37197 — On Jul 17, 2009

I paid a contractor to do a cement driveway on my property. I paid him in advance for everything. He did the cement driveway and it looks okay. In may i gave the property to my mother as a mothers day gift. Now, my mother was just served with a mechanics lien. We found out that although we paid the contractor, the contractor did not pay the cement company for the cement. Now this cement company is trying to place a mechanic's lien on my mother for the property. Is this legal? And do we have to pay twice?

By anon30605 — On Apr 21, 2009

For the painter problem... Wouldn't it have taken him twice as long to finish without the second painter and essentially been the same price? Did you guys decide on an approximate amount of hours beforehand?

By helias7 — On Mar 13, 2009

On 1/24/09 I took my Jeep in to get a new rear main seal fixed. I think they did a good job. But when (1/31/09) I drove it home I noticed they over filled it with oil. I called him first thing on 2/2 and talked to the Owner Mike - He got upset and told me to bring it in. I took off time from my job and took it to him. Right away he got upset and said I owe him for looking at it. I tried to get him to calm down and talk like Men. He did look at the dip stick and said it's just fine. I pulled it back out and showed him it was over-filled. He just went off on me; calling me *boy* & profanity and other names I can't put down. Then he told me to leave and he wanted his money! As I was pulling off the lot he kept calling me out of my name and hitting the side of my Jeep. I will file a Police Report today; But I don't think it's going to do any good based off of the last two reports!

I went to the Firestone next to my Job and they said I was 1 quart full of oil and I do have a copy of this statement on invoice. I had to pay them to drain it for me.

I would like to get a lawyer to look into this, The repair shop had my jeep pike up, for me not paying him $75 and the towing company towed it the wrong way, so now they can keep the jeep. This was done today 3/12/09.

What makes it so bad he had an extra key that I didn't give him. I went back to police dept and reported it as stolen.

Now can he put a mechanic's lien? Can he tow my car?

By gotcover — On Feb 27, 2009

We hired a painter to do a few rooms. He came over, told us the charge was $35/hr. and we agreed to provide the paint, he the other supplies. He showed up w/another worker and they painted the 2 rooms. He then proceeded to try and charge me $70/hr. saying that b/c 2 people came to paint it would be 35/hr each- not at *all* estimated or discussed when he came and gave us the estimate. We tried to work things out w/them, he said to forgo payment as it was their fault but then the office manager refused to try and come to a reasonable agreement (we felt that the $35/hr for work done should be paid since the rooms were painted). After they did not return calls regarding paint on our furniture, baseboards etc. I put a hold on the check (they'd had it for 2 weeks) only wanting to remedy the situation for both parties. Then, I received a notice that a mechanic's lien was placed on our property (w/interest of which there was no paperwork signed or otherwise stating their practice)- they also didn't get my husband's name correct on the lien.

Can a lien be enforced under these circumstances? (Incorrect name listed as property holder- no a misspelling- trying to collect interest when their was no documentation signed or otherwise as to interest charged if payment was received by such and such date etc.)?

By yrdarlin1 — On Jan 07, 2009

Regarding Annon17692 and his tile work. We're a small concrete company in CA and the General won't pay us the last $6K of what he owes us. He's used every excuse and stall. I've given him a 20 day Preliminary Notice, and now I'm mailing in a Mechanic's Lien to the LA Recorder. It is the only thing that has helped in the past, especially for us little companies. I don't think they take us seriously. Our dispute is because our insurance lapsed, because of slow paying on their part. But even if it wasn't in force, they still can't get something for nothing. It's not a question of work quality. Anyone have any input on this part of our situation??

By gr8fl1 — On Sep 12, 2008

Our mom moved out of her house last July 2007 and moved to KY and died in November 2007. Her neighbor replaced a fence between their 2 properties. At mom's funeral he asked if we would go in on the fence. We told him that it was not an appropriate time to be asking and that he could call us and gave him our personal business card. My brother was the executor of the estate and when this man called to ask if we were going to pay 1/2 my brother said no, as we were trying to get the estate in order and the house fixed up in sellable condition. He replaced the fence anyway and when we had an agent at the house yesterday with an inspector he approached her and said that he was going to place a mechanics lien on the house and we would never sell the house. Over $234.00! We are amazed that someone could be such hateful person. We were never consulted in the contracting of the fence, never agreed to anything verbally or in writing. Can he file a lien?

By anon17691 — On Sep 04, 2008

I am a tile guy. I did a job for a local custom home builder and he is avoiding me. Its been at least two weeks since I finished the job and have not been paid in full..Every time I call, they either ignore me or tell me they will pay me "tomorrow" Can I place a mechanic lien on his company to get paid?

By danimira11 — On Jul 14, 2008

Okay so to be sure, in order to place or file for a lien on let's say a dirt bike, there has to be some form of contract between the mechanic and owner of the property right? An old friend of mine is going back on a verbal deal we made and charging me an extra 375 dollars that I never agreed to, but there was never any type of estimate given to me previous to him doing the work. He's now threatening to take a lien on my bike because between the time he took my bike and the time he gave me the price after the work, he obtained his license. So my question is can he successfully file for a lien with no type of contract between me and him?

By anon12887 — On May 15, 2008

is there a special license to open a lien company in the state of new york? i am interested in opening a lien company and i am trying to find out how i go about doing this.....can someone give me this information?

By bliv711us — On Apr 03, 2008

I hope you can help. I'm STILL waiting for a lawyer to call me back. Here's the deal. I hired a builder to construct my new house. I paid him...we closed on the deal. Since closing, I have now received three Mechanic's Liens on my house because the contractor took the money and ran. We're talking about $40K worth of liens. The builder has also since gone out of business. Any ideas? Am I hopelessly screwed? Please help me.

By peterguitar — On Mar 19, 2008

What is the situation regarding a lien against work done in a commercial building? We are disputing the bill for the build out.

By lifestyles — On Feb 08, 2008

I hired a company to install balcony rails... they delivered and installed scratched glass and put holes in my deck that were not supposed to be there. I disputed with them on this and I just received a mechanic's lien on the property. what are my venues of action here?

By anon6868 — On Jan 11, 2008

I am a Roof consultant based out of Florida, in my job it is my duty to come up with job specs for the customer and I work closely with the contractors and subs to ensure that the job is being done properly. I have rendered my services to a client who is now refusing to pay based on the fact that he didn't use the contractor that I was working with; however I devoted 12 hours to him and I do request payment. My question is am I able to file a mechanics lien or not?

By Cdj1945 — On Nov 08, 2007

Good afternoon from Abilene, Texas. My shop has performed over 700 dollars worth of approved repair on a vehicle and I can't get them to come pay me and pick up the automobile. I would like to know the steps for filing a lien on this vehicle in order to receive a title. It is a modified Honda Prelude and I am told the engine in it is worth over 8000 dollars. My wife loves the little car, but it just sits there until we can get something done about a title. It has been here over 6 months. Any information to get this ball rolling would be appreciated, thanks, David.

By anon4412 — On Oct 17, 2007

Hello, I live in Tulsa, Oklahoma and own a automotive repair shop. I have a problem with a vehicle that was sold more than a 1 1/2 ago. Previously we had a engine replaced and the customer had not paid the repair bill after several month of storage. We applied for a title 42 lien and were cleared to sell the vehicle after paperwork was filled. After selling the vehicle the new owners name were added and paperwork was sent back from Oklahoma dept of Transportation. Here are the problems. The paperwork from Oklahoma took a extremely long time, several months (because the vehicle was from Louisiana?) and when the paperwork did arrive and sent to purchaser, they never filed for a title or claimed they could not for the past year. Now they are taking legal action to get their money back for the vehicle after it was damaged and wrecked. I am not a car dealer nor a wrecker service. My question is after the Title 42 paper work has been submitted and all parties have been informed. Do I have the right to sell a vehicle with only the completed Title 42 paperwork without a Oklahoma Title? Or do I need to waste the extra expense in Titling the vehicle in my companies name even if I never intend to keep the vehicle? Thank you for your advise Robert

By tberg — On Aug 16, 2007

We are in a similar situation in that we had a spec house built out of state. The contractor went $11,000 over budget. We maxed out our construction loan, and asked if we could pay the remaining $5500 in monthly payments of $400. The contractor agreed. However, now he wants to put a lien on the house, which we are trying to sell. Will this make it harder to sell the house? Does interest accrue? Does a lien affect our credit?

By klf — On Jul 31, 2007

I have been storing a semi-trailer on my property for several months and have not received any storage fees. Is a mechanics lien what I need?

By charlotteswe — On May 08, 2007

To Dayton (Editor):

As clarification, the house was sold and closed on two months prior to my finally receiving a statement from the contractor. Although I repeatedly asked him (through certified mail) to send me a bill prior to closing, he never did. Currently, there is no mechanics lien on the property. Can the contractor legally file a mechanics lien now, even though the property has a new owner?

Thank you for your help.

By charlotteswe — On May 08, 2007

I owned a house out-of-state, which was being worked on by a contractor. He took an unreasonable amount of time to finish the work. It took him almost two years, when the job only required six months maximum. During this time, he kept telling me "it was almost finished." Although I kept asking him for an estimate and/or statement, he never sent me one.

I recently sold the house, and the new owner recorded the deed. A couple of days ago, I received an exorbitant bill from the contractor. I plan to negotiate the charges on the bill.

My question is: Since the house has a new owner and since the contractor never put any lien on it in the past, could he now put a mechanics lien on it to collect from me?

Thank you for your help.

By apfsprinkler — On Apr 30, 2007

I had completed a job approx. 8 months ago and because of failure to pay I filed a mechanics lien on the project. The contractor then bonded the lien. I have talked to others pertaining to this situation and found that this is a bad contractor hoping that I will forget and let things go figuring that I will have to spend more money on hiring a lawyer to finsih this out and then it won't be worth it.

Is there anything I can do to get my money or is this the way things go for us sub-contractors in today's world. I have all the necessary paper work showing the my contract was kept on my end but he seems to be getting away with murder. I would really like to bust his chops and at the same time be able to collect my money. It seems like contractors get away without paying all the time in these complex days. Can you help me?

By Dayton — On Feb 28, 2007

I feel like I need to clarify--is it that having a mechanic's lien on your property prevents you from selling it? Or if you do sell it, the first money collected goes to those with the lien? Anyone know?

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to WiseGeek, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range...
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