I have re upholstered several pieces of furniture for a client. She has paid for the materials but not the labor. I have delivered all but 2 pieces of furniture and she has refused to pay anything for the balance of the labor but is demanding the rest of her furniture be returned without payment. Because this is her personal property do I need to return it without payment? Is a mechanic lien the right course of action?
The short answer - probably not.
In order to impose a mechanic's and materialman's lien in Arizona, you have to supply materials and labor for the improvement of real property. Real property is understood under the law as land and all improvements legally affixed to the property (e.g. a house, building, etc.). Generally, real property will also include the fixtures within the home or building constructed on the land. Fixtures include features in the home that are generally affixed to the house, the removal of which would cause damage to the home. Fixtures include sinks, countertops, doors, some lighting and fans, etc. Fixtures do not include those items of personal property that can be easily removed without causing damage to the home, e.g. televisions, couches, beds, refrigerator, washing machine and dryer, etc.
In your case, if the pieces that you reupholstered are going to be permanently installed as fixtures in the home, then you may have rights under the mechanics lien statutes. If, as i suspect, the reupholstered pieces are going to remain un attached, then the lien statutes will not give you any protection.