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do I have to have a contract to file a lien

AlabamaConstruction ContractMechanics LienRight to Lien

i made a deal with a subcontractor to work for 300 dollars for a 8 hour day for 6 days he still owes me half going on 2 weeks

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Jan 29, 2019
That's a good question. First, keep in mind that potential lien claimants may need to send preliminary notice to protect all of their rights to payment (though, even if not sent, some lien rights will remain). zlien discusses that in-depth here: Alabama Does Require Preliminary Notices — And Strict Compliance is Required. But, before deciding to utilize lien rights, many claimants find that simply leveraging the threat of a mechanics lien can really go a long way to compel payment. Considering the drastic implications of a lien filing, the filing cost, and the ability to still file a lien later-on if necessary, many potential claimants first utilize a Notice of Intent to Lien in attempt to recover payment without actually filing a lien. Plus, by sending a Notice of Intent to Lien to the owner as well, it can help to put pressure on the non-paying customer since the owner will likely hold them accountable. You can learn more about that tool here: What is a Notice of Intent to Lien? Regarding the question at hand - an agreement to perform work, even if just made verbally, could constitute a contract (granted, it's always a good idea to put a contract to writing - even if it's an incredibly simple one). Thus, I think the more appropriate question might be "Does Alabama require a written contract in order to file a mechanics lien?" The answer to that question appears to be "no" based upon the Alabama lien statute. While the statute does require some contract be present, it repeatedly refers to "any contract" which would seem to indicate that more than one form of contract would be acceptable - beyond just a written contract. Considering there are a number of contract types (written, verbal, and implied, to name a few), the statute would have likely called for written contracts, specifically, if they were necessary to file a lien claim. Keep in mind, though, that there are rules surrounding what constitutes a verbal contract, and there are requirements and deadlines surrounding filing a mechanics lien. For more on verbal contracts, this resource should be valuable: Are Verbal Agreements Binding? For more on Alabama's lien and notice rules, these resources might be worth taking a look at: Alabama Mechanics Lien & Notice FAQs.
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