called a plumber for an estimate and instead they hit me with a $275 bill for 5 min of "work" and have yet to even provide a bill. Can they file a lien if they haven't even provided a bill for service-(not to mention I just asked for a quote)
Sep 18, 2018
It's definitely frustrating to get burdened with paying for something you didn't want or expect to need to pay for. Just asking for a quote and getting work done instead is not how anybody wants things to happen.
In Arizona, mechanics liens are generally available to parties who are unpaid for work performed on a property and for which s/he remains unpaid. However, there are some exceptions to the general availability of a mechanics lien, and there are specific requirements that must be met.
1. A license is required in order to claim a valid and enforceable lien in Arizona. Arizona statutes note that "A person who is required to be licensed as a contractor but who does not hold a valid license as such contractor . . . shall not have the lien rights provided for in this section."
2. Further, Arizona has special rules for work performed for an owner-occupied residence. "No lien provided for in this article shall be allowed or recorded by the person claiming a lien against the dwelling of a person who became an owner-occupant prior to the construction, alteration, repair or improvement, except by a person having executed in writing a contract directly with the owner-occupant." This means that in the case of improvements on a person's home - the lien claimant must have a written contract with the property owner in order to claim a lien.
Finally, in the event that neither of the above limitations apply, there are practical considerations. Even if a lien could be validly claimed by a party who only claims to be due $275, the costs and time associated with a lien filing may be prohibitive to the recovery of that amount.