I hired a handyman to install spray foam insulation. He was paid in full prior to the project. He verbally told me he would be doing the work, his invoice states he will be doing the work, the invoice is under his name (not a company name). He (without my knowledge) hired another company to do the work. 73 days later this other company came to me door. I gave him the address and phone numbers for my handyman. He stated he wasn’t paid..and I thought it could be a scam. 85 days post install they filed a lien on my property. This was the first time I had the name of the company, and dollar amount. Is this lien valid? No pre-lien notice, they were not authorized to work on my property, my handyman did not have the authority to bring in additional people, and the amount this company charged was well over the expected price. Last, the work has unfinished repairs.

4 weeks ago

I hired a handyman to install spray foam insulation. He was paid in full prior to the project. He verbally told me he would be doing the work, his invoice states he will be doing the work, the invoice is under his name (not a company name). He (without my knowledge) hired another company to do the work. 73 days later this other company came to me door. I gave him the address and phone numbers for my handyman. He stated he wasn’t paid..and I thought it could be a scam. 85 days post install they filed a lien on my property. This was the first time I had the name of the company, and dollar amount. Is this lien valid? No pre-lien notice, they were not authorized to work on my property, my handyman did not have the authority to bring in additional people, and the amount this company charged was well over the expected price. Last, the work has unfinished repairs.

Chief Legal Officer Levelset

Whether or not lien claims are valid can be difficult to easily determine. There are, however, certain requirements that must be met in order for liens to be enforceable.

In Oklahoma, parties without a contract with the property owner are required to provide preliminary notice within 75 days of first furnishing labor or materials in order to retain lien rights when one of the following circumstances apply:

1. the property includes an owner-occupied dwelling; or
2. the project is non-residential and the claimant’s aggregate claim is greater than $10,000.

So, to the extent that a project took place on an owner-occupied dwelling, all parties that did not contract with the property owner must deliver a preliminary notice in order to retain lien rights. If the 75-day deadline is not met, or if the notice is not ever actually given, it is fatal to lien rights.

If the preliminary notice is given, the lien itself may be filed within 4 months after the last date labor or material was furnished.

Whether the fact that a property owner didn’t intend for a contractor to hire subs, or whether any unfinished work limits the availability of mechanics lien protection is a complex question, although the general rule is that construction participants are entitled to mechanics lien protection to for the value of the labor they performed or materials they furnished to a project.

But, to the extent preliminary notice is required but not delivered (or not delivered timely), any subsequent lien is likely invalid and unenforceable.

Your answer or comment: