Hello, I used to work for a large construction management firm in Boston, MA and recently started an underground utilities company. Dumb question, do lien rights still apply in the utilities industry where we are not working on a single private property but instead installing fiber optic conduit for a private internet provider within a municipalities right of way? Thanks
Doug, very complex question, more information is likely needed. Generally, if a project is private, you'd have lien rights as against the respective real property where the project is located. In Connecticut, if the project is public, bonding would be necessary for the project and there would have to be a bond to make a contractor/subcontractor/materialman whole as you would not be able to foreclose on the project. Regardless of lien rights, are there payment bonds invovled? As to the lien rights issue, that would likely require some legal research and additional facts and circumstances.
No payment bonds are involved. Definitely complex as we are doing private work on public property.
Attorney Brown is correct. You are a subcontractor working for a private principal contractor on a public right of way. Therefore, you cannot attach a mechanic's lien to the public property. Instead, your claim for non-payment would be against the contractor and not against the public property itself to get paid on the project. To do this, you may only recover your remedy with the use of a performance or payment bond. Therefore, you must file a claim against the bond rather than the public property. You should not do any of this type of work unless the contractor secures your being paid with a performance or payment bond.
As others have commented above, there are no lien rights on publicly-owned property. Request a copy of the payment bond from the GC, or get it from the municipality via a FOIA request. If the town failed to obtain a payment bond from the GC, you have the ability to make a claim directly against the town. See Conn. Gen. Stat. 49-41(d). Good luck with it and feel free to contact me if you'd like to discuss further.