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Can I as a homeowner file a Mechanical Lien for Contractor work done to get the house ready for the market?

OhioMechanics LienRecovery Options

We are divorced and I am putting the house on the market, problem is I have spent over $7000 doing repairs to get the house ready to sell, that my Ex has not contributed towards. Can I get reimbursed before the proceeds of the house is split, thru filing of the Mechanical Lien. I have money for the contractors, multiple

1 reply

Jun 21, 2018
That an interesting situation. First, it should be noted that mechanics liens are a remedy for those who perform construction work or provide construction materials and go unpaid. Typically, lien rights are reserved for contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, or equipment renters and lien rights apply to amounts owed but unpaid as a result of a construction contract. Depending on the state, lien rights may also be available for construction managers, but again - lien rights arise out of the property owner authorizing some other party to perform work. An owner who authorizes the work will typically not have the right to lien their own property. Having said that, Ohio is a state where construction managers have the right to file a mechanics lien. However, according to the Ohio mechanics lien statute, a "construction manager" refers to " a person with substantial discretion and authority to manage or direct an improvement, provided that the person is in direct privity of contract with the owner, part owner, or lessee of the improvement." Thus, because a construction manager is one who has a contract with the owner (or part owner), a party who is an owner or part owner will not fall under that definition. Ultimately, attempting to manipulate mechanics lien rights to fit situations where lien rights aren't necessarily applicable can be a dangerous game. Exploring other options would be wise, and consulting a divorce attorney could help to provide clarity here. Typically, there will be available mechanisms to promote fairness when dividing assets in a divorce proceeding, and improving property prior to sale is a pretty common scenario. A local divorce attorney would likely be able to provide more insight after surveying the circumstances surrounding the above situation.
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