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Can a Pest control company put a Lien on a house for not returning the termite bait system that was installed by last owner?

New YorkConstruction ContractMechanics Lien

Single Family Home in NY, Sentricon Termite bate system was installed by last owner with 1 year contract, Contract states that the bait system remains the property of Sentricon. The house is sold 3 months later, New owner never signed any contract with the pest control company. 9 months after sale the Pest control company asks for renewal fee for the contract or removal of the bait system. The new owner does not allow them on the property to remove the bait system and refuses to renew a contract that was not signed by him. Can the pest control company put a lien on this house now?

1 reply

Dec 4, 2017
If the lien in question is a mechanics lien, likely not. New York, like many states, requires a "permanent work of improvement" in order to qualify for mechanics lien rights - and New York takes the "permanent" part of that requirement seriously. In one case, a company's mechanics lien for the installation of solar panels and solar power system was deemed ineligible for mechanics lien protection because it wasn't a permanent improvement - since the materials were leased for a period of years and could be removed from the property. While the above is a pretty intense result, it may be relevant to the situation described. While not having a singed contract with the current owner may not preclude lien rights, the lack of work sufficient to give rise to valid lien rights in the first place probably does. However, that analysis depends on the nature of the bait system and other work performed for its installation, if any.
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