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How do I enforce a lien that's been "bonded off"? And can a bonded lien be extended?

AlaskaBonding Off LienLien Foreclosure

I filed a lien on a property for non-payment of the final bill. The owner "bonded off" the lien and sold the property. I received no notice so I don't know the surety name, bond or escrow number, or if the principle is the seller or buyer. How can I get this information, and how do I enforce a lien on a bond/escrow? How do I know whether it's a bond or escrow account (Alaska state law refers to "bond" for lien removal, but the only contact I've had was a call to confirm the payoff amount from an escrow/title company). Also, Alaska Law allows a property lien to be extended 6 months by filing an extension, but isn't clear whether a lien can be extended after it's been bonded.

1 reply

Mar 6, 2019
I'm sorry to hear you've had trouble getting paid. First, unlike other states, it does not appear that Alaska lien laws require notice to be sent to the lien claimant when their lien is bonded off. However, the bond is recorded in the public record and presumably associated with the lien filing in that record - so a claimant should be able to obtain a copy of the bond via the clerk or recorder's office. That copy of the bond will contain all information necessary to bring an action against the bond. Enforcing the payment claim against the bond, rather than the property, should be relatively similar to the process for enforcing the lien claim against the property - and consulting a local construction or real estate attorney should help provide clarity on how to proceed. As for determining whether a bond or escrow was utilized to remove a lien claim from the property - § 34-35-072 of the Alaska mechanics lien statute provides that a lien may be bonded off by recording a bond executed for the release of the lien - but it does not state that some other form of security, like escrow, might be utilized. It's worth noting, though, that a title company might inquire as to whether a bond is in the correct amount in order to be sure that the recorded bond is sufficient to satisfy the requirements set out in the Alaska mechanics lien statute (i.e. a bond to release a lien must be worth 1.5 times the amount of the lien claim). As for whether a bonded off lien can be extended - § 34-35-080 of the Alaska lien statute, which creates the ability to extend a lien filing, does not mention the word "bond" or otherwise contemplate whether a bonded off lien might be extended. At the same time, though, the timeframe for filing an action on the bond is the same for filing a lien enforcement action on the original claim. So, there may be an argument that an extension should be allowed for bonded off claims as well. Considering the complex nature of this situation, and considering enforcement would require legal action anyway, it would be wise to consult a local construction or real estate attorney about the above situation and potentially for representation in the matter. They will be able to take a deeper look into the relevant circumstances and advise on how to proceed. Plus, when recovering against a bonded off lien in Alaska, a claimant who prevails will be entitled to reasonable costs incurred in bringing suit against the bond. For more on bonded off liens, this resource should be valuable: Primer on Mechanics Lien Bonds and Bonding a Mechanics Lien. For more on Alaska's lien laws, this resource should help: Alaska Lien & Notice FAQs + Statute.
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