Can we file mechanics lien on the structure if we don’t receive pay from the renter?
We have recently completed the majority of work on a large project. Two customers, one facility. We did work for the building owner and work for the renter occupying the building.
Generally, performing work for a tenant can raise some mechanics lien questions. Often, if the owner isn’t involved in the project at all, then work for a tenant will only give rise to a lien against the tenant’s interest in the property (i.e. their lease) rather than against the property, itself. Levelset discusses that here: What Happens to Mechanics Lien Rights If My Project is a Tenant Improvement?
However, when the owner is heavily involved in the project and has clearly not only approved of the work, but has also been the one to authorize work – lien rights may well be available against the owner’s interest in the property as well. If work was done under separate agreements, though, and if the owner clearly abstained from any responsibility for the work on the tenant’s property, then the owner might be able to argue the lien shouldn’t apply to their fee interest in the property.
For ultimate clarity, it might be helpful to consult a local South Carolina construction attorney. They’d be able to review the project documentation and other relevant circumstances and advise on how best to proceed.
For more information on South Carolina mechanics lien claims and how to file them:
Before filing a lien, other recovery tools can help
Before diving straight into a lien claim, there are some less-aggressive options that can lead to payment.
For one, something as simple as an invoice reminder might be enough to get paid. Invoice reminders let recipients know that payment remains due and owing, and they call for payment to get the account squared away. Taking things a step further and sending a payment demand letter can help recover payment too. Demand letters will establish a hard deadline on when payment must be made, and they’ll threaten legal action if payment doesn’t come.
Further, because mechanics lien claims are such a powerful tool, the mere threat of a lien will often lead to payment. Sending a document like a Notice of Intent to Lien will let customers know that you’re serious about getting paid and willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that happens.