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Mechanic or Contractor Lien

1 week ago

I have a person who had an attorney contact me saying that he was going to put a lien a investors property that my company general contracted. However we never hired or contracted this person ever so can they get a lien with no proof of claim?

Senior Legal Associate Levelset

I’m not entirely sure I understand your situation, but let’s look at a few different topics – I think your question will be answered somewhere below.

A claimant doesn’t need a contract with the property owner in order to file an Ohio mechanics lien claim

An owner doesn’t need to hire another party directly for mechanics lien rights to arise. Subcontractors, suppliers, equipment rental companies, laborers, etc. could all potentially file mechanics liens if they perform work on the project property but go unpaid for that work. For example, if an owner hired a general contractor, and if that general contractor hired a subcontractor, the subcontractor could still file a mechanics lien against the project property.

For further discussion: Who can file an Ohio Mechanics Lien?

Even if a claimant didn’t perform any work on the liened property, they may still be able to file an (invalid) mechanics lien

Mechanics liens can typically be filed, even in a situation where the claim might not be valid and enforceable. Ultimately, county recorders offices have neither the authority nor the bandwidth to investigate every claim that’s filed with their office. So, a claimant could potentially file a completely improper lien and have that claim encumber someone else’s property.

Of course, there are stiff penalties for parties who file fraudulent mechanics lien claims. An owner can typically challenge a fraudulent mechanics lien in order to have it discharged, and damages and even criminal penalties might come into play if the lien is deemed fraudulent.

More information on fraudulent liens here: Don’t File Fraudulent Mechanics Liens.

If an improper lien has been threatened, it may be helpful to consult a local construction or real estate attorney

If a lien claimant has come out of the blue to threaten a lien claim that’s obviously improper, it’d probably be helpful to identify why their claim would be improper and to respond to the threat of lien. Or, consulting with a local construction or real estate attorney and having them help draft a response could be helpful, too. Of course, if there is a construction project underway, it might be wise to first consult with the project’s general contractor to help determine whether this claimant has actually been providing work to the job.

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