You’re unpaid. You’re deciding whether to move forward with a mechanics lien; weighing the pros and the cons. There’s some talk from the general contractor or others on the project that payment is forthcoming. So Monday turns to Tuesday, and before you know it you find yourself going home for the weekend on a Friday evening without anything getting resolved.

Tick tock.

Recently I got a phone call from a client who filed a mechanics lien in Louisiana a few months ago. This client was agonizing over whether to file the claim or not, but finally pulled the trigger. Yesterday, because of the date that a notice of completion was filed by the owner, he learned that his mechanics lien was a single day late. His claim is completely dead in the water.

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This situation happens all too often. The mechanics lien window is an extraordinarily tight window. Sometimes, the lien period can fall into a gray zone with disputes over when completion happens or when the last day of furnishing actually was, but other times the lien filing window opens and shuts swiftly and decidedly like a mousetrap.

When potential lien claimants sit on their claims only one thing can be sure: the lien window is closing.

Use this contractor’s experience to remember that Promises to Pay Mean Squat To Your Mechanics Lien Deadlines, and if you’re unpaid on a project, protect yourself first by getting a mechanics lien filed as soon as possible. That one extra day could kill.