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What kind of Liens can contractors file in order to receive payment for services provided?

DelawareRecovery Options

We provided services for a customer that refuses to pay us. They moved out of state without informing us while we were painting the interior of the home. We have tried many ways through emails, texts, and phone calls but with no solution. The customer is now getting rude, nasty and threatening. We just want payment for the services we provided him and that is all. We even lowered the price to accommodate him but it has not worked. I heard we can file a Mechanic's lien but is there anything else we can do?

1 reply

Jun 26, 2018
I'm sorry to hear about that. When a customer has shown that they have no intention to pay, unfortunately, a claimant might have to grow a little more forceful in their demands. Particularly, sending a demand letter that notifies the owner that nonpayment is unacceptable can be effective. One way to do so is through a document called a Notice of Intent to Lien. A Notice of Intent to Lien acts like a warning shot - it notifies recipients that, if payment isn't received, a lien will be filed. Further, a different demand letter could also be effective - a letter sent via an attorney that threatens legal action unless payment is made can get the job done. If sending a Notice of Intent to Lien or a demand letter is ineffective, filing a mechanics lien is always an option. Delaware is a state where preliminary notice is not required, so there are no failed notice requirements that could render a claim invalid. Of course, Delaware, like every other state, has a strict lien deadline. A lien claimant who is in a direct contractual relationship with the owner or reputed owner of the property must file his Statement of Claim within 180 days after the completion of the structure. However, Delaware law notes that a Statement of Claim is filed timely if it is filed within 180 days of any of 9 separate dates outlined by 25 Del. C. § 2711, some of which may not occur until well after the structure is completed. This can sound a little confusing on its face, but those dates are clearly outlined here under section a(2). Finally, if threats of legal action are ineffective, and if a claimant does not want to pursue a lien claim, another option might be to pursue the claim in Delaware small claims court. Alternatively, a claimant can file suit to recover sums owed and unpaid.
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