Can an hourly laborer file mechanics lien even if I have paid him in full?

11 months ago

I am a home owner who paid an hourly laborer in full for all hours worked then told him I have no more work for him. His work was very shoddy, he padded his hours, took 5 smoke breaks an hour, was very pushy and even started to work on things I did not hire him to do. There is work to be completed, but due to budget I will be completing myself. And fixing all his screw ups. I paid him in full for all the hours he “worked”. I do not have the money to pay him to do the rest of the work. So basically he has been laid off. He’s now threatening a mechanic’s lien. Can he do that?

Senior Legal Associate Levelset
414 reviews

Laborers in Maine are entitled to file a mechanics lien if they go unpaid for work that permanently improves the property they’re working on. However, they’ll only be able to file a mechanics lien to the extent that they’re unpaid. So, if a laborer has been paid in full – or even overpaid – then they won’t be entitled to file a mechanics lien.

Note, though, that doesn’t mean a mechanics lien cannot actually be filed – it means that a lien that does get filed would ultimately be invalid and unenforceable. County recorders offices typically have neither the bandwidth nor the authority to investigate each lien claim that’s filed. So, a would-be lien claimant could go rogue and file an improper or even fraudulent lien.

While it can be hard to force a lien claimant to not file their claim, often, when an owner explains why a filed lien would be improper and/or notifies the would-be claimant that the lien will be fought tooth an nail – that claimant might be more amenable to standing down. Demanding that a lien claimant
abandon their prospective claim might be more effective when sent via attorney letter, too.

I think these resources might also be helpful for you:
(1) I Just Received a Notice of Intent to Lien – What Should I Do Now?
(2) A Mechanics Lien Was Filed on My Property – What Do I Do Now?

Disclaimer: The information presented here is not legal advice and should not be construed as such. Rather, this content is provided for informational purposes. Do not act on this information as if it is advice. Further, this post does not create any attorney-client relationship. If you do need legal advice, seek the help of a local attorney.
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