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Is anyone allowed to put a Lien on a property for any amount?

LouisianaMechanics Lien

I had a pool contractor that was paid by me on time payments. Work was stopped before the last stage and subcontractors have not been paid. 2 subs have put Liens on my house for amounts that who knows if correct or not. 1 sub finished their work 3 months ago (in which they continued doing work for 3 months prior without getting paid) and is now putting a lien of $18k and an electrician who didn't finish their work (not licensed contractor) is putting a lien of $3k. Do they not need to show invoices or written contract of amounts between them and the Pool Contractor (that I paid already)? I have already sent a demand letter to the Pool Contractor and my complaint has been submitted to the Sheriffs office. So far the pool contractor has not paid anyone. What rights do I have to get these Liens taken off my house? I made all payments to Pool Contractor. Can anyone just put a Lien on my house for any amount at any time since this pool is not and can not be finished.

1 reply

Dec 19, 2018
I'm very sorry to hear that - it sounds like an incredibly frustrating situation. First, in Louisiana, a lien claimant is entitled to a mechanics lien for the full amount of the work performed and unpaid - regardless of what payments have been made to the contractor. Thus, it's entirely possible (and pretty common) for a contractor to fail to pass payments along down the chain after that contractor has themselves received payment for work. However, if a claimant has received partial payment - they will not be entitled to file a mechanics lien for amounts that they have already received. As far as licensure - in Louisiana, unlicensed contractors can file liens, but they may be subject to penalty from the licensing board and they're only able to recover the minimum value for the work performed. Finally, it's worth noting that when payment has been made to a contractor, but that contractor has failed to make payment to their subs, the contractor isn't just off the hook. Rather, if legal action is required, an owner can bring in the contractor to hold them responsible for their unpaid debts. Finally, when mechanics liens have been filed on a property, it's typically a good idea for the owner of that property to seek out legal representation to deal with the liens - removal of the liens will likely require legal action, and the potential effects of a lien filing (i.e. foreclosure of the property) are drastic enough so that playing it safe is likely worthwhile. In the meantime, these resources should be helpful: (1) A Mechanics Lien Was Filed on My Property – What Do I Do Now?, and (2) Frivolous Mechanics Liens: Intentionally Fraudulent vs. Honest Mistakes.
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