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Can I place a lein if no contract was signed?

OhioRecovery OptionsRight to Lien

120 man hours in job prep and layout, cabinet design and hold fees. Customer changes mind on project just prior to contract signing. Customer doesn't want to pay bill for above services.

1 reply

Apr 1, 2019
Good question! Let's break this into two separate ideas: (1) Whether a mechanics lien can be filed when a written contract is not executed, and (2) Whether a lien can be filed when prep work is performed, but no work is actually done that physically improves property. Like many other states, Ohio does not require a written contract be present in order to file a mechanics lien. Of course, it's always a good idea to put an agreement to writing in order to more clearly establish the relationship and duties of the parties involved. Regarding liens when work isn't actually performed - generally, mechanics lien rights arise as a result of the improvement to property. Lien rights protect contractors, subs, and suppliers from going unpaid after their work has improved property. However, when some services are provided or prep work is done that does not actually improve the project property, typically, lien rights will not arise. Of course, that does not mean that payment isn't owed for design or prep work, it simply means a mechanics lien may not be the most appropriate route for recovery. Even still - the threat of a mechanics lien might work to compel payment, regardless of whether a lien could or would be filed. That idea is discussed in-depth here: What is a Notice of Intent to Lien? Further, some other method of recovery might do the trick - like a payment demand letter or a small claims court action. For more information on Ohio lien claims, this resource should be helpful: Ohio Mechanics Lien Overview.
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