Last week, we had new furniture from IKEA delivered and installed at our New Orleans office. We actually hired a great little local company to pick up the furniture from Houston, deliver it to us and then assemble everything (Bluebag).
Ever since I began courting my wife in her college-town of Atlanta, GA (where there is an IKEA), I’ve had a small love affair with the furniture company. Through experience I’ve learned that there are folks all around the country who will assemble IKEA furniture for you. While not necessary when you buy just a few easy-to-install items, it does make sense if you’re a business setting up an office space, installing a new kitchen, etc.
While our IKEA assembler from Bluebag was installing our office furniture it got me to thinking: could they file a lien for this?
I think that in some scenarios IKEA furniture assemblers could actually have lien rights, but it depends on a question that should be near and dear to the hearts of material suppliers and contractors: was the services, labor or material incorporated into the property?
This “incorporation of materials / services” was touched upon in the blog post: Does Lien Clock Start When Materials Leave Supplier or Arrive At Job Site. The idea was actually more fully discussed in that post’s comments, so you might want to look there.
The bottom line is this: Before anyone is entitled to file a lien, their services or materials must actually be incorporated into the immovable.
What does this mean for IKEA furniture installers?
The IKEA installer who put together our office furniture would likely not have a mechanics lien right. The reason is simply that the office furniture is just sitting loosely in a room, can be easily moved and easily removed. It’s not a component of our building. It’s just furniture.
I mentioned that IKEA installers often install kitchens, however. In this scenario, I think they would be more likely to have lien rights. Installations of kitchen cabinets, counter tops and appliances are fixed to the building such that most states will consider them as “incorporated” with the building, and therefore, entitling the installers the right of filing a mechanics lien.