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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>Can we file a mechanics lien on a property for materials ordered even if the work was never done. I don't have a contract with the property owner, but i have an email stating they wanted to move forward.

Can we file a mechanics lien on a property for materials ordered even if the work was never done. I don't have a contract with the property owner, but i have an email stating they wanted to move forward.

GeorgiaConstruction ContractMechanics LienRight to Lien

Hi. We are a small business in Georgia and want to know if we have rights to file a mechanics lien on a private property. We emailed a quote to a property owner and they responded via email that they were good and we in turn ordered the materials from the supplier. While we don't have a written contract, we do have an email saying that the owner wanted to move forward. Since then, the property owner cancelled the job and my distributer wants a 50% restocking fee for the materials. The materials are still at the warehouse. Do we have rights to file a lien on the property owner for the materials ordered?

1 reply

Jul 17, 2019
That's a good question, and I'm sorry to hear that this project fell through. However, mechanics lien rights arise to secure payment for work performed, and the right to encumber the property title arises specifically because that underlying property has been improved. So, in a situation where no work has been performed, a mechanics lien will generally not be appropriate, even if some project costs have been incurred.

However, it's worth noting that a 50% restocking fee for materials which never left the warehouse seems quite steep - and, unless those terms were agreed to when placing an order (which is certainly possible), it might be possible to avoid paying such a fee. Or, it might be possible to negotiate a lesse fee with the supplier even if there is an agreement in place to pay a high fee.

Further, it might also be possible to attempt to recover restocking fees from an owner. Granted, if there was no contract with the owner, that might be harder to do. Still, sending a lien warning like a Notice of Intent to Lien or threatening to pursue other legal action if the owner refuses to help cover the fee might help to get the payment talks going somewhere - regardless of whether a lien or legal action will actually be pursued. Of course, it's probably a good idea to discuss the matter with the owner before jumping to conclusions.
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