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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>Basically, can a GC out a lien on my property with no contract in MA even though he did some demo work and basement excavation work while I was waiting for his estimate - which came is super high. His invoice came in at $3x as high for the work completed

Basically, can a GC out a lien on my property with no contract in MA even though he did some demo work and basement excavation work while I was waiting for his estimate - which came is super high. His invoice came in at $3x as high for the work completed

MassachusettsMechanics Lien

Basically, can a GC out a lien on my property with no contract in MA even though he did some demo work and basement excavation work while I was waiting for his estimate - which came is super high. His invoice came in at $3x as high for the work completed

1 reply

Oct 25, 2018
In Massachusetts, under § 1 of the lien statute, it does not appear that a lien for labor requires a written contract. Specifically, that section allows for a lien for work done "...by virtue of an agreement with, or by consent of, the owner.." Such a lien lien may be filed for "unpaid amounts including interest and agreed penalties for failure to pay the same." Where there was no agreement for the price of work when work was set out, likely, the amount of a contractor's lien would relate to the value of the work performed. On the other hand, if the parties agreed that whatever the contractor quoted would later be paid, conceivably, the contractor might be able to file a lien for whatever the amount of the quote was. Of course, in the event that the amount of that work was willfully and knowingly exaggerated by the lien claimant, their lien may be deemed invalid, if filed - but that would require challenging the lien once it has been filed (typically via a motion with the court). When a contractor has threatened to file a mechanics lien, it may be a good idea to attempt to reason with them first. Another option may be to reach out to a local construction or real estate attorney and have them provide a letter to the potential claimant regarding exaggerated lien amounts and how excessive amounts claimed will render a lien invalid or even potentially fraudulent. If a lien has already been filed, reaching out to a local attorney would likely be a wise move considering the drastic nature of mechanics liens - they will be able to review the claim and any relevant documentation or other information and advise you on how to proceed. Finally, this article may be helpful for owners where a lien has been filed: A Mechanics Lien Was Filed on My Property – What Do I Do Now?
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