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There's a mechanics lien on my property. What can I do?

VirginiaMechanics Lien

I live in Virginia and recently had a roofer's estimator give me an estimate. Yesterday he informed me he has put a mechanics lien on my property because the Roofer Company didn't pay him for giving me an estimate. No work has been done, I initially signed the contract but the next day notified the Owner and estimator that I would not be doing the work. Can the estimator do this and what actions can I take?

1 reply

Feb 15, 2019
I'm very sorry to hear about that. Before getting too far along, zlien has a resource that I think will be helpful - A Mechanics Lien Was Filed on My Property – What Do I Do Now? Anyway, generally, mechanics lien rights will only arise for construction work performed but unpaid. That's because the right to lien ties directly to the improvement of property - where property is not actually improved, typically, the right to lien will not exist. Of course, each state's lien laws vary, so let's look at Virginia's lien statute for further clarity in the state. Under § 43-3 of the Virginia lien statute, "All persons performing labor or furnishing materials of the value of $150 or more, including the reasonable rental or use value of equipment, for the construction, removal, repair or improvement of any building or structure permanently annexed to the freehold...shall have a lien..." So, it seems that where no construction, removal, repair or improvement takes place, a mechanics lien right will likely not arise. Further, that section continues to state that "when the claim is for repairs or improvements to existing structures only, no lien shall attach to the property repaired or improved unless such repairs or improvements were ordered or authorized by the owner, or his agent." Thus, where no repair or improvement is made, and where no repair or improvement is even authorized by the owner, the right to lien will not arise. Once a mechanics lien filing has taken place, it's typically a good idea to consult and/or potentially hire a local construction attorney regarding the claim. Virginia property owners are entitled to fight a lien claim they believe is inappropriate, and improper lien filings could even give rise to some damages - but, challenging a lien claim will typically take some formal legal action, and when legal action is needed, the services of an attorney are typically needed (or at least recommended). For more on Virginia lien law, this resource should be valuable: Virginia Lien & Notice FAQs + Statutes.
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