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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>Can I file a lien on a property not owned by the person who hired Me? They are paying a monthly fee for the right of future ownership and have hired me as a consultant to assist with future plans for the site

Can I file a lien on a property not owned by the person who hired Me? They are paying a monthly fee for the right of future ownership and have hired me as a consultant to assist with future plans for the site

ColoradoMechanics Lien

I have been hired as a consultant to assist with various matters in 3 different factories. One of them them they own. The other they are leasing with an option to purchase, and the third one they are paying a monthly payment for the option of purchasing the property. These properties are in Oregon, Colorado, and Wyoming Can I file liens on these? I have a written contract that states I will provide services and will be pain within 5 days of the end of the month........I have not been pain in 5 months and the principal in my contract is not returning calls or messages. Thank You

1 reply

Nov 28, 2018
That's a good question, and there's a lot going on here. First, it's worth noting that lien laws can vary greatly state by state. The ability to lien for the same work could be present in one state and not available in the next. Further, when the overall project is set out by someone other than the owner, whether or not lien rights will be present will become a more complicated endeavor. Finally, mechanics lien rights arise when construction work is performed for the permanent improvement of real property. When property is not actually improved and only the plans of improvement are put into motion, generally, lien rights won't arise. Plus, while most lien statutes broadly allow lien rights to those who participate in the improvement of property, "consulting" is not typically set out specifically as a form of work giving rise to lien rights. Of course, potentially, the specific work performed could give rise to lien rights. Still - where the property is not actually improved, lien rights generally won't arise. Anyway, let's take a look at these individual states. In Oregon, lien rights can arise from the mere preparation of plans. Specifically, under § 87.010(5), "An architect, landscape architect, land surveyor or registered engineer who, at the request of the owner or an agent of the owner, prepares plans, drawings or specifications that are intended for use in or to facilitate the construction of an improvement or who supervises the construction shall have a lien upon the land and structures necessary for the use of the plans, drawings or specifications so provided or supervision performed." Thus, in Oregon, if an architect, landscape architect, surveyor, or registered engineer prepares plans for an improvement at the direction of the owner or someone acting on behalf of the owner, lien rights may arise. For more background on the other lien and notice rules, this should be a helpful resource: Oregon Lien & Notice FAQs. In Colorado, lien rights are broadly granted - and they're available for some parties whose work is more in the realm of drafting and planning rather than labor and materials. Specifically, under § 38-22-101, parties who will have lien rights include"...architects, engineers, draftsmen, and artisans who have furnished designs, plans, plats, maps, specifications, drawings, estimates of cost, surveys, or superintendence, or who have rendered other professional or skilled service, or bestowed labor in whole or in part, describing or illustrating, or superintending such structure..." - but in order for lien rights to arise, there must actually be improvement to the property. Further, lien rights will arise when work was authorized "...at the instance of the owner, or of any other person acting by the owner’s authority or under the owner, as agent, contractor, or otherwise..." Thus, if the owner has authorized whoever puts forth the improvement to improve the owner's property, lien rights may arise (subject to the other rules applicable). Recall that there are other lien and notice rules (including strict deadlines) - so taking a look at the other requirements is likely necessary. You can learn more about those at the Colorado Lien & Notice FAQs. In Wyoming, lien rights extend to some design professionals. Specifically, architects, professional engineers, and surveyors will have lien rights along with contractors, subcontractors, and materialmen. Under § 29-2-101(a) of the Wyoming lien statute, a mechanics lien extends to "work done or plans or materials furnished a lien upon the building or improvements, and upon the real property of the owner on which they are situated..." Wyoming specifically sets out rules for lien claims when dealing with tenants. Under § 29-2-104 and § 29-2-105, a lien may be placed on the leasehold interest, and a lien will extend to the landlord's interest if "(i) The landlord has agreed to pay the costs of the improvement; or (ii) The improvements are specifically authorized by the landlord." Keep in mind that there are also other lien and notice rules that apply here, too. You can read more on these rules here: Wyoming Mechanics Lien & Notice FAQs. Lastly It's worth noting that even in a situation where lien rights might not be the most appropriate remedy, there are other methods available for recovery. One of the more effective (and cost-effective) tools to recover payment is a Notice of Intent to Lien. This document is actually required in some states (including Colorado and Wyoming). It serves as a final warning - it states that if payment isn't made and made soon, a mechanics lien will be filed. Nobody likes dealing with mechanics liens, so for claimants who have gone unpaid for their work, this tool can help fast-track recovery without the need for actually filing a lien. You can learn more about that here: What Is a Notice of Intent to Lien and Should You Send One? Plus, this article discusses other potential options when a lien isn't in play.
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