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Can we file a lien more then 120 days after project completion if the General Contractor stopped answering their phones?

ColoradoLawsuitLien DeadlinesMechanics LienNotice of Intent to LienRecovery OptionsRight to Lien

Can we file a lien more then 120 days after project completion if the General Contractor discontinued answering their phones? We have not yet spoken to the homeowners. These were insurance cases, so insurance fraud could be a possibility. The General Contractor stated that he released his lien rights to the homeowner for each property before he fell out of contact.

1 reply

Jul 5, 2019
Great question. First, it's worth noting that a GC waiving their lien rights will not automatically waive the lien rights of their subcontractors. Further, it's also worth noting that the actions of a GC will not affect their sub's lien deadline. So, the lien deadline will persist regardless of whether a GC has fallen out of contact.

Of course, regardless of whether a valid and enforceable mechanics lien can be filed, there are always other options that might be available for recovery. For one, sending a Notice of Intent to Lien to the customer and the property owner can help move things along - regardless of whether a valid mechanics lien can or will be filed. Because mechanics liens are such a powerful recovery tool, typically, and owner and/or contractor can't afford to assume the claimant is purely bluffing. So, when payment is owed but unpaid, the mere act of sending a Notice of Intent to Lien can be effective. What's more, because Colorado is one of the few states that actually requires a claimant to send Notice of Intent to Lien, it's that much more useful. For more information, here are some great resources: What is a Notice of Intent to Lien? and What Is a Colorado Notice of Intent to Lien?

Further, threatening legal action (such as, potentially, a breach of contract, unjust enrichment, or some other legal theory) - or actually going through with such a claim - could lead to payment. Further, depending on the amount of the dispute, small claims court might be an option, too (limited to $7,500 or less in Colorado).

For a deeper look at Colorado's mechanics lien rules and deadlines, as well as more details on other non-lien options, these are good resources:
(1) Colorado Mechanics Lien Overview
(2) Can’t File a Lien? Here Are Some Other Options For Recovery
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