I dont have a written contract, but many emails and text messages and witnesses. Can I still file a lien?

2 weeks ago

I am a contractor, I was hired by a woman to get her house ready for sale. We did all she’s asked and more. She refuses to pay and says we have not finished. She also refused to give a halfway check.

Stepan Rybalka
User

Sorry to hear about your situation. No one should have to fight to get paid what they’ve earned. Every state deals grant lien rights differently and determining whether you need a written contract to file a lien is not an uncommon question. In Colorado, in particular, a written contract is required sometimes. This depends on the actual contract price for the labor and services provided.

The relevant statute is C.R.S. §38-22-101(3): all such contracts shall be in writing when the amount to be paid thereunder exceeds five hundred dollars and shall be subscribed by the parties thereto. Unfortunately, the threshold for when a written contract is required to file a Colorado mechanics lien is $500. If the services were for any more than that amount, and there is no written contract between the parties, mechanics lien rights will not be available.

That doesn’t mean all hope is lost. There are still other avenues one can explore to get paid in Colorado. One option is to turn the debt over to a collections agency, which can help put additional pressure on the non-paying party. Another option is to file a lawsuit based on either a breach of contract, unjust enrichment, or quantum meruit. Hope this helps, and good luck!

For additional resources: (1) Colorado Construction Payment Help Hub page, (2) Step-by-Step Guide on How to File a Colorado Mechanics Lien, or feel free to come back and ask another question here.

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