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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>I am an interior designer who worked on a project from June 2017 to June 2018 and did not get paid. I have sent notices, and now want to file a lien, but understand it is too late. They owe me $23,000.00 Is there any recourse. Please help!

I am an interior designer who worked on a project from June 2017 to June 2018 and did not get paid. I have sent notices, and now want to file a lien, but understand it is too late. They owe me $23,000.00 Is there any recourse. Please help!

ArizonaRecovery OptionsRight to Lien

I did all selections, hard and soft for a developer of 27 townhouses in a period of one year. I was not paid. A lot of excuses.

1 reply

Apr 3, 2019
I'm sorry to hear about your situation - no one should face a mountain of excuses when merely trying to obtain payment for what they've earned. First, it's probably worth noting that mechanics lien rights are generally available for those who perform construction work and go unpaid for their work - and in order for lien rights to arise, the property must generally be permanently improved in some physical manner. So, whether or not an interior designer will have the right to lien is an open question - and it will depend on the specific work that was performed. Anyway, regardless of whether a valid and enforceable mechanics lien can be filed, there are other ways to recover payment. For one, regardless of whether a claimant can or will actually file a mechanics lien, sending a document like a Notice of Intent to Lien might help to recover payment. A Notice of Intent to Lien informs an owner that if payment isn't made soon, then a mechanics lien claim will be filed. Due to the powerful and drastic nature of mechanics liens, often, such a threat will work to convince an owner or other customer to talk payment. Of course, for owners who are intimately familiar with mechanics lien requirements and deadlines, a Notice of Intent to Lien might be less effective. For more information about potential recovery via Notice of Intent, this resource should help: What is a Notice of Intent to Lien? Of course, there are always options for recovery outside of the mechanics lien process. Sending a payment demand letter which features specific legal threats (like making a claim for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, or some other remedy) could work to compel payment. When sent via attorney, demands tend to carry more weight. Further, a claimant might be able to send the debt to collections - but even if successful, only partial recovery would be obtained. Further, small claims court could be an option, depending on the size of the debt owed. And, if all other options seem bleak or unfavorable, pursuing litigation over the amounts owed could always be an option (though litigation can be costly, take a long time to resolve, and can carry a lot of risk). Ultimately, in order to determine what route for recovery might be the most appropriate, it might be wise to consult a local construction or real estate attorney. They'll be able to review all documentation and communication and advise on how best to proceed with recovering payment. For more information on Arizona's mechanics lien and notice rules, this resource should be valuable: Arizona Lien & Notice Overview.
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