I have a contract to consult. Was paid for 4 months and then payments and communication has stopped. I am still sending monthly invoices. Work is in colorado wyoming and colorado
Nov 21, 2018
That's a good question, and whether a lien will be available will depend on a combination the work performed, the party who hired you, whether proper notices were sent, and whether the deadline to file has passed. While I won't be able to give you a call, I can provide some information that could be helpful here. In Colorado, mechanics lien rights are pretty broadly granted. Based on CRS § 38-22-101, they're available to a "person who furnishes or supplies laborers, machinery, tools, or equipment in the prosecution of the work, and mechanics, materialmen, contractors, subcontractors, builders, and all persons of every class performing labor upon or furnishing directly to the owner or persons furnishing labor, laborers, or materials to be used in construction, alteration, improvement, addition to, or repair, either in whole or in part of any building". Plus, they're also available to architects, engineers, draftsmen, and artisans. While Colorado is pretty broad here, it's worth noting that in many states, the ability of a consultant or project manager to file a lien is limited. Thus, the ability to lien may turn on the exact work performed and whether it falls in line with the above quote. While Colorado does not have strict preliminary notice requirements like other states (which can ruin a lien claim, if not followed) - before a Colorado mechanics lien claim can be filed, a Notice of Intent to Lien must be sent to the owner along with a copy of the lien which will be filed. That Notice of Intent and lien copy must be sent at least 10 days prior to filing the lien - and this won't extend the lien deadline. We discuss that in this article: Colorado Notice of Intent to Lien Requires Planning. Assuming the right to lien exists and assuming the Notice of Intent to Lien is properly sent, there's one more hoop to jump through - the deadline to file. Generally, claimants will have 4 months from the date they last provide labor or materials to file their lien claim. However, for laborers, the lien deadline is 2 months from the completion of the work. Further, when work is performed on 1 and 2 family homes, the deadline to file a lien will be just 2 months after the last furnishing. We discuss the deadline in depth here: How Long Do I Have To File A Mechanics Lien in Colorado? 4 Months or 2 Months? Now, for Wyoming. Wyoming's lien rights are not quite as broad as Colorado's, but they're still pretty broad. Those performing work or furnishing materials to an improvement will generally have lien rights, and lien rights also extend to design professionals like engineers and architects. Again, though, the ability for a "consultant" to file a lien will likely depend on the exact work performed. Unlike Colorado, Wyoming does require preliminary notice in order to preserve the right to lien. For parties hired directly by the property owner, a Notice of Right to Claim a Lien must be given to the owner before receiving any payment from the owner. For parties not hired directly by the property owner, this notice must be sent within 30 days of providing labor and/or materials to the project. Failure to send that notice could derail a lien claim before it starts. Finally, Wyoming also requires that a Notice of Intent to Lien be sent prior to filing a lien claim. In Wyoming, a Notice of Intent to Lien must be sent at least 20 days prior to filing a lien. If this notice is also not sent - lien rights vary well may be lost. Finally, the Wyoming deadline. In Wyoming, those who have directly contracted with the property owner must file their lien within 150 days from the earlier of the following 2 dates: (1) when labor and/or materials were last furnished; or (2) the substantial completion of the project. For those parties not hired directly by the property owner, the deadline to file is 120 days from the earlier of those 2 dates. Finally, it's worth noting that even in a situation where lien rights might not be available, sending a Notice of Intent to Lien could be very effective to recover payment. Even in a situation where it may be questionable as to whether lien rights are an available tool, a Notice of Intent to Lien is such a serious threat that the non-paying parties are often willing to talk deal.