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Can a subcontractor place a lien on a general contractors business if he was paid but didn't pay the sub?

AlaskaMechanics LienPayment DisputesRecovery Options

I was hired to do a job on a grocery store by a contractor. We had a written contract with a 60 day payment due date. The due date was May 1st. The general contractor was paid by the store and is now trying to sell the business without paying me. Can I put a lien on the generals business? Can I file a lien on the store. My 120 days to file is up 8/10/18.

1 reply

Jul 18, 2018
I'm sorry to hear about that. First, mechanics liens are a unique remedy, and they attach to the underlying property where work is performed rather than to any individual or business. So, if a contractor fails to pay their sub on a job, their sub can encumber the real estate and improvements where the work was performed to secure payment - but the GC's property itself is not lienable via mechanics lien. Regarding a lien filing on the owner's property, a mechanics lien is a powerful route to recovery and can work wonders to get a claimant paid. However, there's another step that can be very effective and a lot easier (and cheaper) - a Notice of Intent to Lien. This document acts as a sort of warning shot - it states that, if payment isn't made, a mechanics lien will be filed on the project property. Because a mechanics lien is such a drastic remedy, a Notice of Intent to Lien may be enough to get a claimant paid all by itself. Plus, if payment doesn't come as a result of the notice, a claimant is still entitled to file their mechanics lien. Anyway, note that the time for filing an Alaska mechanics lien can vary. If no Notice of Completion has been recorded, a lien must be filed no later than 120 days after the lien claimant completes their contract (or otherwise ceases to provide labor, services, material, or equipment). If a Notice of Completion has been recorded, a claimant only has 15 days to file their mechanics lien. Note, of course, that if the claimant had previously filed a Notice of Right to Lien (prior to beginning work on the job) the timeframe may be altered. You can read more about that at zlien's Alaska Lien and Notice FAQs. If you'd like to file a lien, you can get a free download of Alaska's mechanics lien form here. Alternatively, there are lien and notice filing services available online - including zlien's online filing service which can be found here. Good luck!
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