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is there remedy in Louisiana lien statute for someone who didn't file a preliminary notice?

LouisianaRecovery Options

We provided rental equipment to a GC in LA. We did not file a preliminary notice with the owner. We are owed for rental time of June back to Feb. of 2018 and are being told they haven't been paid by the owner. Since we didn't file a preliminary notice, do we have any rights within the LA lien statute?

1 reply

Aug 7, 2018
Louisiana places a tough burden on equipment renters when it comes to mechanics lien rights. Preliminary notice must be sent within 10 days from first delivering equipment to the project. If this notice is not sent, an equipment lessor will not be entitled to file a mechanics lien pursuant to the Louisiana mechanics lien statute (better known as the Private Works Act). However, that doesn't mean there aren't other available methods to recover payment. First, sending a Notice of Intent to Lien can be an effective way to compel payment. This document acts like a warning shot - it states that, if payment isn't made, then a lien filing will take place. This document may be sent regardless of whether a claimant will ultimately be entitled to file a mechanics lien, though obviously, the threat of lien tends to be more effective if the claimant is actually entitled to do so. Regardless, because a mechanics lien is such a drastic remedy, many recipients of a Notice of Intent to Lien will take the threat seriously and will be more amenable to resolving a dispute. You can learn more about the document here: What Is A Notice of Intent to Lien And Should You Send One? Another alternative might be to make other specific legal threats - such as potentially threatening a lawsuit over breach of contract or some other legal action. Nobody wants to get caught up in a lawsuit, so a recipient of such a threat may be more prepared to come to the table when they know you mean business about recovering payment. Further, if such a demand is sent via an attorney, the letter tends to carry a little more weight. Finally, actually filing a lawsuit or taking some legal action is still an extremely effective way to compel payment - although litigation can be both costly and expensive. If a claim is less than $5,000, small claims court may be a cheaper option. However, small claims court can be even more unpredictable than traditional litigation. Ultimately, these are merely a few of the available options, and a claimant can take any number of routes to compel their customer to pay. Reaching out to a local construction law attorney could be helpful in evaluating each potential course of action, and they'll be able to advise you on which route makes the most sense for your situation.
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