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My question would be. How do I start the mechanics lien process? Thank you, Phil

ColoradoLien DeadlinesRight to Lien

I have painted for a lot of clients of a real-estate agent I know. I was contracted to paint the exterior of a rental property by one of his clients that is putting the house up for sale. In the original contract I was very through and found a lot of work needing to be done. The owner, at least that how he presented himself. He stated upon receiving the 1st proposal that he could not afford for me to have that much work done. So I reworked the amount and pricing and he accepted. In the amended 2nd proposal I cut the work and cost down by 1/2 but stipulated in the 2nd proposal that "Home owner to supply exterior paint". He agreed and gave me the 1/2 up front deposit and said to use the businesses paint account at Sherwin William's. So I did. After the job was completed I contacted him for final payment and he did not reply for about 3 to 4 days stating that he was out of the country for another 10 days. Upon his return we met at the property and he tells me that he was not going to pay for the paint and deducted the paint cost amount totaling $1,444.63 out of my final pay, I told him the contract clearly states Home owner to supply exterior paint He said that he didn’t care and to put a lien on the property. So that’s what I am doing. I ran a background check on him and it shows that he at one time did own the property but now belongs to an LLC company that is owned by a woman that runs a property management co here in town. The house is currently on the market and I am afraid if it sells I will be out my final payment. Please help! Thank you, Phil

2 replies

Aug 27, 2018
It's frustrating to find yourself in a position in which it is unclear whether you will get paid what you have earned. In Colorado, the mechanics lien pro cess and deadlines is generally the same, no matter what the claimant's role on the project. In order to begin the lien process, a notice of intent to lien must be give the property owner, reputed owner, or owner’s agent, (along with a copy of the Statement of Lien that will be filed) at least 10 full days prior to the filing of the mechanics lien. The mechanics lien itself must be filed at least 10 days after providing the notice of intent, and within 4 months after last delivery of services or materials. Note, however, that if only labor provided (and not materials) the time period in which a lien may be filed is shortened to 2 months after the last furnishing.
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Aug 27, 2018
I'm very sorry to head about that, Phil. First, regarding ownership, a claimant may be entitled to file a mechanics lien when hired by someone other than the property owner. For one, those parties down the payment chain - like subcontractors and suppliers - are still entitled to lien when they have been hired by a contractor rather than the owner. Colorado's mechanics lien laws specifically provide lien rights for individuals and companies hied by an owner or the owner's agent under CRS § 38-22-101(1). Further, the Colorado mechanics lien laws repeatedly reference the right file a lien against a "reputed owner". While "reputed owner" is not specifically defined in the Colorado lien laws, but generally, this term refers to a party who has held themselves as the owner of the property or the party generally considered to be the owner of the property. Thus, for both a situation where (1) someone was acting on the owner's behalf, and (2) someone leads others to believe they are the owner of the property (but actually may not have an ownership interest), mechanics lien rights will arise. Changing gears, let's look at the mechanics lien process in Colorado. Colorado is one of relatively few states that requires a Notice of Intent to Lien prior to filing a mechanics lien. We describe the document more in this article "What Is a Colorado Notice of Intent to Lien?", but essentially, this acts as a warning shot. It informs the property owner and all other recipients that, if payment isn't made fast, a mechanics lien will be filed on the property. In Colorado, this must be sent 10 calendar days before a mechanics lien may be filed. Along with this Notice of Intent, a full copy of the pre-filed lien must also be sent. Thus, it's important to have the lien deadline in mind, and a Notice of Intent to Lien requires planning. Finally, let's look at the deadline to file a mechanics lien. Generally, a Colorado mechanics lien must be filed 4 months from a claimant's last furnishing of labor, materials, and/or services. Colorado is home to some exceptions though. For laborers who do not provide any materials to the project, the deadline is 2 months from the completion of the project. Notice those deadlines may run from different dates if the claimant's last work on the project was not simultaneous with the completion of the project. Lastly, when 1 or 2 family home is involved and a sale has recently occurred, a claimant may need to file their lien early so that it will remain enforceable against the new owner. When a purchase has taken place, a claimant must file their lien within 2 months after their last furnishing of labor, materials, or services. If a claimant doesn't know whether a purchase has taken place, it may be a good idea to file a mechanics lien early - within 2 months - in order to cover all of their bases (of course, the deadline only applied on 1 or 2 family homes). These deadlines can be a little confusing, so here's an article that explains them step by step: How Long Do I Have To File A Mechanics Lien in Colorado? Finally, here's a guide to filing a Colorado mechanics lien: How to File a Colorado Mechanics Lien. Good luck getting paid!
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