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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>Me and my boyfriend replaced some siding, primed & painted house, yard work for a lady who refuses to pay us in washington state. We are not licensed and her real estate agent said as long as we did work before her house was placed on market then we didn't need to be licensed. We almost finished when owner told us to leave without payment. Can we file a mechanic lein? We didn't get written contract as owner in Mississippi, but we do have texts from her stating she pay us. Thank you

Me and my boyfriend replaced some siding, primed & painted house, yard work for a lady who refuses to pay us in washington state. We are not licensed and her real estate agent said as long as we did work before her house was placed on market then we didn't need to be licensed. We almost finished when owner told us to leave without payment. Can we file a mechanic lein? We didn't get written contract as owner in Mississippi, but we do have texts from her stating she pay us. Thank you

WashingtonLicensesMechanics LienNotice of Intent to LienRight to Lien

We did 3/4 of work, plus many extras when we were told to leave her property. The owner refuses to pay or respond to our requests for payment

1 reply

Jun 24, 2019
That's a good question, and I'm sorry to hear you've had trouble with this job. Generally, it appears that painting contractors in Washington must be licensed in order to pursue a Washington mechanics lien claim if their work exceeds $500. So, if a mechanics lien is filed for painting work when the contracted painter didn't hold necessary licensure, that lien would likely be considered invalid and unenforceable if the work.

Note, though, that sending a threat of a lien claim could lead to payment - regardless of whether a lien claim could or would ultimately be made. Because a mechanics lien is such a powerful too, owners will often be hesitant to call a claimant's bluff when the claimant sends a document like a Notice of Intent to Lien. This is especially true when an owner is worried about keeping their property title clean in preparation of listing the property for sale.

If you've got other questions regarding Washington's mechanics lien rules, this should be a helpful resource: Washington Mechanics Lien Overview.
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