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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>I was leasing a mechanic shop with an option to buy. $350 per month out rent went towards option fee. The agreement was that l fix the property and bring it to code which will be deducted from the purchase price. I had $50,000 more left to pay the owner in full. The owner just died. The heirs will not honor my agreement and hired an attorney and evicted me from my shop and now trying to sell it. Can file a mechanics Lien against the propeerty? ontract full.The owner just died. e

I was leasing a mechanic shop with an option to buy. $350 per month out rent went towards option fee. The agreement was that l fix the property and bring it to code which will be deducted from the purchase price. I had $50,000 more left to pay the owner in full. The owner just died. The heirs will not honor my agreement and hired an attorney and evicted me from my shop and now trying to sell it. Can file a mechanics Lien against the propeerty? ontract full.The owner just died. e

CaliforniaRight to Lien

l have been leasing a mechanic shop since 1994 with an option to buy from the owner. $350 per month out of the rent went towards the option fee. The agreement also stated that l did all the construction at the property to bring it to code which will be deducted from the purchase price. I had $50, 000 more left to finish paying for the entire property. The owner just died. The heirs do not want to honor my contract, hired and eviction attorney and have evicted me from my property. Can l file a mechanics lien against the property?

1 reply

Apr 4, 2019
I'm very sorry to hear about that - it sounds like an unfair situation. First and foremost, it would be wise to consult a local construction or real estate attorney. They'll be able to review your circumstances, as well as any documentation or communications, and advise on how best to proceed. Further, if the ownership agreement described above was put to writing, it would be a good idea to review that agreement with a lawyer. They'd be able to determine how best to enforce the agreement. Looking to the viability of a potential mechanics lien claim, mechanics liens are available for those who perform construction work but go unpaid for their work. But, generally, lien claims are appropriate for those in the construction industry who are hired to perform improvements to property. In unique agreements where construction work is performed but there are also other factors in play - like a lease and the purchase of property - it might be less clear that a lien claim would be appropriate. Lien rights will generally arise when construction work leads to the permanent improvement of property, as long as the work was authorized by the party who owned the property. But, at the same time, it would be important to think about what amounts might even be claimed. Where no amount of payment was promised in exchange for the work, that could create a problem. Under § 8430 of the California Civil Code, the amount of a mechanics lien will be the lesser of (1) the reasonable value of the work provided by the lien claimant, and (2) the price agreed to by the claimant and the person who contracted for the work. So, while the reasonable value of the work might be determinable, if no payment was promised for the work, a claimant could run into trouble. Further, the deadline to file a California lien might also come into play. In California, a claimant who has contracted directly with the owner of the property must file their mechanics lien after they have completed their contract for work, but before 90 days after the completion of the project. So, in a situation where a lien claim would be filed well after work was stopped, a claimant might run afoul of that deadline. But even if a mechanics liens wouldn’t be the right method of recovery, mechanics liens are only one legal remedy. Recovery of damages or even the reinstituting of a prior contract might be possible through legal action – and consulting a local real estate attorney could help to decide on a path toward recovery. To get in touch with California lawyers in your area, here are some available online resources that should be helpful: Avvo and Lawyers.com. On both sites, individuals can ask legal questions and even seek out legal representation.
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