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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>I had a contractor do work on my home on my AC unit who did not complete the work I had to hire someone else to come in to finish his work that he messed up and had to pay out additional money to the contractor who I called to come and fix what the first contractor messed up and now he’s trying to put a lien on my home how is that possible when he didn’t complete the work and I had to find someone else to complete it

I had a contractor do work on my home on my AC unit who did not complete the work I had to hire someone else to come in to finish his work that he messed up and had to pay out additional money to the contractor who I called to come and fix what the first contractor messed up and now he’s trying to put a lien on my home how is that possible when he didn’t complete the work and I had to find someone else to complete it

KentuckyConstruction ContractLawsuitMechanics LienRight to Lien

I had a contractor do work on my home on my AC unit who did not complete the work I had to hire someone else to come in to finish his work that he messed up and had to pay out additional money to the contractor who I called to come and fix what the first contractor messed up and now he’s trying to put a lien on my home how is that possible when he didn’t complete the work and I had to find someone else to complete it

1 reply

Jul 29, 2019
This is a frustrating situation. Not only was the work not completed, but then to add insult to injury, the contractor is threatening a lien against your property. This doesn't seem fair.

Generally, absent specific state rules to the contrary, parties on construction projects are allowed to file a mechanics lien even if they didn’t finish their work - or before they finish their work - to the extent that they performed work or supplied materials to improve the property and were not paid.

Additionally, county recorders rarely (and shouldn't) act as gatekeepers for the validity or ultimate enforceability of mechanics lien claims. If a contractor asserts a lien and follows the proper procedures to have it recorded, the likelihood is that it is going to be recorded, whether or not it is proper or ultimately enforceable.

That being said, in the event a contractor does not perform the required work, especially when the work must be corrected and finished by a different party, there are more things to consider. It is likely that the first contractor breached the contract for the work. This would present the opportunity for a suit against the contractor for that breach of contract. While a mechanics lien may be able to be filed, that does not mean that the contractor is entitled to the payment set out by the mechanic lien claim. There may be both a counter-claim against the contractor for breach of contract, and/or for slander of title if a mechanics lien is filed for money that is not due.

There are also deadlines that must be considered. A Kentucky mechanics lien must be filed within 6 months after labor or material was furnished to the project by the claimant. If this deadline is met, no valid and enforceable lien may be filed.

While it can be difficult to keep a contractor from filing a lien prospectively, it likely wouldn't hurt to send a letter from an attorney setting forth the reasons a lien would be improper, defining the potential breach of contract action against the contractor, and stating that if an improper lien is filed a slander of title action may be initiated. It may cause the contractor to think twice about whether he actually has a valid claim.

Also, remember, just because a lien is filed doesn't mean 1) it's valid; or 2) that anything will happen. A mechanics lien must be enforced within a certain time period, or the lien expires. And in many cases, the enforcement of the lien proves too time consuming, expensive, or burdensome for a contractor to deal with. And, if a lien is ultimately filed despite giving the contractor warnings about why it may not be valid, any claims against the contractor or defenses to the lien itself may be brought when an enforcement action is initiated.

I'm sorry to hear you are in the situation of potentially needing to deal with a lien you believe to be improper, but there are many different paths that lead to a decent outcome. I hope it gets resolved quickly and easily.
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