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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>contractor did put a mechanics lien on my property after we fired him. He left the job more than 60 days. We tried everything to get a hold of him telephone, texting, writing, but to no avail. I did get him one time and he told me he never wanted to hear from me and that I would have to finishe the project myself. So after waiting and hoping he would finish the project my husband sent a letter ending the contract. I think it’s his pride/ego. We gave him $12,000 dollars in good faith money do he wouldn’t have to use any of his own money for materials. And after each phase we were to give him 2,000. Well the last thing he did was he put in this 5 x 5 cement slab which we didn’t want we asked him for a 4 x 8 slab. Anyways after he received the letter he put a lien on our house. And I’m not paying him money for something I didn’t order. And he never finished the addition, we had to get two other contractors to finish it. I don’t know what to do, what would you do?

contractor did put a mechanics lien on my property after we fired him. He left the job more than 60 days. We tried everything to get a hold of him telephone, texting, writing, but to no avail. I did get him one time and he told me he never wanted to hear from me and that I would have to finishe the project myself. So after waiting and hoping he would finish the project my husband sent a letter ending the contract. I think it’s his pride/ego. We gave him $12,000 dollars in good faith money do he wouldn’t have to use any of his own money for materials. And after each phase we were to give him 2,000. Well the last thing he did was he put in this 5 x 5 cement slab which we didn’t want we asked him for a 4 x 8 slab. Anyways after he received the letter he put a lien on our house. And I’m not paying him money for something I didn’t order. And he never finished the addition, we had to get two other contractors to finish it. I don’t know what to do, what would you do?

VirginiaMechanics Lien

Just want to know what I can do to get this lien off my property.

1 reply

Dec 11, 2018
I'm sorry to hear about that. While I won't be able to provide any advice on how to proceed, I should be able to provide some information that could be helpful in moving forward. But, before going too far, it might be wise to consult a local real estate attorney when a mechanics lien has been filed considering the drastic implications a lien can have. Anyway - this is a question we get fairly often at the Construction Legal Center, and zlien has two resources that might be of use: (1) A Mechanics Lien Was Filed on My Property – What Do I Do Now?, and (2) How Do You Remove A Frivolous Mechanics Lien? Regarding the validity of the filed lien, first, let's look to mechanics lien law basics. Mechanics lien rights arise when a party performs construction work and goes unpaid for that work, and that claimant will typically only be entitled to lien for the amount of work performed. Thus, where a project is not completed, filing a lien for the full amount of that contract (despite not having done all the work) will typically result in an improper lien. Further, when a lien claimant has received full payment (or even overpayment) for the work they have performed, that claimant will likely not be able to file a valid lien. Regarding the timeframe - Virginia lien claims must be made within 90 days from the last day of the last month during which the claimant performed work or delivered materials. This deadline is strict, and lien claims made beyond this timeframe will be invalid. When a lien has been filed and the owner believes it to be invalid - often, the first response will be to demand release of the lien. Many owners will send such a demand via an attorney, also threatening suit if the filed lien is not removed. Very typically, having the lien claimant remove the lien themselves is the cheapest and easiest option, if the claimant can be convinced to release their lien. If that's ineffective, legal action may be taken in court in order to have the lien removed, or potentially, the lien may be bonded off (though this option may result in a fair amount of expense). Ultimately though, as mentioned earlier, mechanics liens aren't something property owners typically want to play with - and when a lien has been filed, it's wise to at least consult an attorney about the matter.
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