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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>One of my customer’s check returned and she refuses to pay. What is the best practice? Can I file a lien and go to small claims court at the same time? Please advise. Thank you.

One of my customer’s check returned and she refuses to pay. What is the best practice? Can I file a lien and go to small claims court at the same time? Please advise. Thank you.

ColoradoMechanics LienRight to Lien

My customer right last portion of the check for 7,5k for completed project in Match 2nd and asked me to hold a check until March 22nd since she did not have enough funds before that day. (By signed agreement: Remaining payments need to be made after completion of project) Check was returned and bank charged me $12 returned deposited fee

1 reply

Mar 29, 2019
I'm sorry to hear you've gone unpaid. When a contractor or sub goes unpaid, generally, the most powerful tool to recover payment is filing a mechanics lien. However, before a Colorado lien can be filed, it's important to preserve the right to later file a mechanics lien with a Notice of Intent to Lien. Plus, a Notice of Intent to Lien can go a long way toward compelling payment all by itself. In Colorado, the deadline to file a mechanics lien will be either 4 months after the last date labor or materials were provided to the project, 2 months from the completion of the improvement, or 2 months from the last furnishing date - and the applicable timeline will depend on the project's specifics. You can learn more about which deadline will apply at one (or both!) of the following resources: (1) Colorado Lien and Notice Overview; and (2) Payment Rights Advisor. Regardless of what deadline applies, though, the timeframe for sending a Notice of Intent to Lien will remain the same: a Notice of Intent to Lien must be sent at least 10 days prior to the filing of the mechanics lien. So, because the Notice of Intent to Lien won't extend the lien deadline, making sure both can be filed takes a little extra planning. But, recall that those are only deadlines - and a Notice of Intent to Lien can be sent much earlier than the lien deadline. Plus, because a Notice of Intent to Lien will go to both the property owner and the customer, in a situation where the customer is someone other than the property owner, a Notice of Intent to Lien puts extra pressure on a customer to make payment. You can learn more about how a Notice of Intent to Lien works to compel payment here: <strong>What is a Notice of Intent to Lien? Finally, note that there are always options outside of the mechanics lien process that can help to recover payment: Other Options for Recovering Payment. Good luck!
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