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Is refrigerant a lienable product in AZ?

ArizonaMechanics LienRecovery Options

We work with residential clients, both retail, and as a contractor for a home warranty company. In both scenarios we have to add refrigerant to client's unit(s) to make them run, or provide cold air. In this particular case we were contracted through AHS (home warranty company) to fix an ac unit. We replaced a leaking valve core (this cost is covered by their home warranty, meaning we bill them) and we added 4 pounds of refrigerant, $300 worth. This cost she agreed to pay and signed the work order. Then after her AC was working she cancelled the check.

1 reply

Jun 6, 2018
That's a fair question. However, to assess whether lien rights exist for given work, it might be helpful to frame it a little differently. As a general matter, HVAC work is typically lienable work. I'll discuss it more at the end of this answer, but there may still be an opportunity to recover payment without resorting to a lien filing by using a Notice of Intent to Lien. In Arizona, _"every person who labors or furnishes professional services, materials, machinery, fixtures or tools in the construction, alteration or repair of any building, or other structure or improvement, shall have a lien on such building, structure or improvement for the work or labor done or professional services, materials, machinery, fixtures or tools furnished..."_ HVAC work likely serves as an "alteration or repair" of a building as it is a fundamental feature of most construction projects. If that is the case, then pursuant to the Arizona lien statute, the materials used in the course of providing lienable work could be included in a lien claim - and if the materials were the only portion of the work provided that went unpaid for, a lien could likely be filed for the amount of those materials. Recall, though, that requirements surrounding lien filings can be strict. In Arizona, all parties to a construction project must provide preliminary notice (other than laborers). This notice should be sent at the start of the project, but the notice will preserve the right to lien for any work performed during the previous 20 days. The deadline to file a lien is important to - a lien claimant must file their claim within 60 days after the Notice of Completion was recorded (if one was, in fact, recorded). Otherwise, a mechanics lien must be recorded within 120 days of completion of the improvement. Changing gears, prior to filing a lien (if there's still time before the lien deadline), sending a demand for payment such as a Notice of Intent to Lien can be a cost effective way to recover payment without actually having to file a lien. Nobody likes dealing with a mechanics lien (neither the claimant nor the property owner!), and a Notice of Intent acts as a sort of warning shot. It informs the recipient that if payment is not made in a timely manner, a lien claim will be filed. Plus, if the warning is ignored, a claimant can always proceed with their lien claim (as available).
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