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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>Hello there, I have a landscape business and I built a Pergola that the homeowners did not pay for so I filed a lien with your guys's help and I can't say thank you enough. However the homeowner says they don't want to pay because they just found out that there was no permit which they say completely voids the contract, I am currently working to get a retroactive permit. But is that true does this make the lien and contract completely void? Thank you

Hello there, I have a landscape business and I built a Pergola that the homeowners did not pay for so I filed a lien with your guys's help and I can't say thank you enough. However the homeowner says they don't want to pay because they just found out that there was no permit which they say completely voids the contract, I am currently working to get a retroactive permit. But is that true does this make the lien and contract completely void? Thank you

IdahoRight to Lien

Hello there, I have a landscape business and I built a Pergola that the homeowners did not pay for so I filed a lien with your guys's help and I can't say thank you enough. However the homeowner says they don't want to pay because they just found out that there was no permit which they say completely voids the contract, I am currently working to get a retroactive permit. But is that true does this make the lien and contract completely void? Thank you

1 reply

Feb 4, 2019
That's a good question. First, it's worth noting that when a permit is required to perform work, the failure to obtain that permit could affect the ability to file an Idaho mechanics lien. Under § 45-501 of the Idaho lien statute, lien rights will only exist for those who perform work when the claimant is "legally authorized to perform" that work. Where a permit is required but not obtained, potentially, such a project might not be considered "legally authorized". Note, of course, that not every project will require a permit. In fact, after a quick glance at the Idaho Division of Building Safety website, it's unclear whether a permit would be necessary for the work described above. On their website, they state: "The law requires you to permit your manufactured home, electrical, plumbing & HVAC work with the Division of Building Safety to ensure compliance with proper installation & safety standards." Further, it appears easy for a claimant to determine whether permitting was required in the first place by calling the Division at 1-800-955-3044 and speaking with the applicable Program Manager. That, and they have a helpful FAQ section on Idaho Permitting Questions plus rules packets which break down the rules based on the type of work being performed. Note, of course, that the building regulations based on the city and county where work was performed may also influence permitting requirements - but also that simply because a permit was not obtained doesn't necessarily mean that remedies for obtaining payment won't be available. To best assess whether a permit was required and what effect the failure to obtain a permit might have, reaching out to a local construction attorney should help to provide some clarity here.
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