I haven’t gotten paid. Should I remove my equipment from the property?

2 weeks ago
State: Louisiana

I’m the contractor we have been working on homeowner property for 6 months living in our camper. Our tools and camper still on property homeowners do not live there. They havnt paid us and we want to go back and get our camper and tools. Can we go get them? We will be putting lien on property. But want our stuff. Is there any reason that i shouldnt get my property.

Additional info about this contractor
Project Role: General Contractor
Project Type: Residential
Senior Legal Associate Levelset
355 reviews

If your property remains at the project site, you should be entitled to return and retrieve it. Note, though, that owners will often try and hold property hostage when there’s a payment dispute (which is generally illegal). Still – if the work has completely stopped and if payments aren’t coming, then removing property you own shouldn’t be an issue. And the owner’s refusal to return your property would compound their legal issues.

However, that’s not a license to retrieve materials/supplies ordered for the project, and it’s certainly not a license to rip out any work, etc. Doing that could result in your own legal troubles. Plus, if you have equipment on-site that’s being billed for, removing that equipment and continuing to bill would be a problem. That’s best exemplified in this story from Louisiana: A Roofer Went Unpaid, So He Took The Roof Back…And Then He Was Arrested.

If you have any questions about how to file a Louisiana mechanics lien, these resources will be useful: (1) How to File a Louisiana Mechanics Lien – Step by Step Guide to Get You Paid; and (2) Louisiana Mechanics Lien Guide and FAQs.

Disclaimer: The information presented here is not legal advice and should not be construed as such. Rather, this content is provided for informational purposes. Do not act on this information as if it is advice. Further, this post does not create any attorney-client relationship. If you do need legal advice, seek the help of a local attorney.
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