Why do I have to remove a lien if monies for work done has been paid but not the legal fees associated with the lien

3 weeks ago

HI,

I had a Mechanics Lein on a property owner as they owed me monies for work done. I used your free NOI letter and after delivery to the owners, they [aid the full amount of the lien that was outstanding. However, on your NOI letter, I also marked with an asterisk that “the amount above does NOT include Legal fees”.

As they have now paid in full the amount of money due to me for the work done, but NOT for my legal fees (ie the fees I paid to Levelset and also my attorney’s fees), do I still have to remove the lien?
Can I maintain the lien until they pay my legal fees or what recourse do I have to recover these legal fees?

I want to ensure I am not liable in any way if I keep the Lein on their property if they have only paid for the work done and have not paid (they are disputing), my legal costs.

Thanks

Chief Legal Officer Levelset
45 reviews

The first thing to consider is whether an actual lien was recorded in the county auditor’s office where the construction project itself is located, or whether the claim was solely presented through a Notice of Intent (NOI letter) delivered to the property owner. If the potential lien claim, or NOI, was only provided to the property owner, there is nothing to be “released” or cancelled.” If a lien was recorded against the property (note that liens are claims against the improved property itself, not the property owner) then a release may be required.

In Washington, “extra” fees, such as attorneys’ fees, collection costs, interest, or lien filing fees are not allowed to be included in the lien claim itself. However, some or all of these amounts may be awarded to a lien claimant by the court if the claimant is successful in a lien enforcement action.

Additionally, Washington law requires that a lien claimant release their lien upon payment and acceptance of the amount due to them when the owner or the person making payment requests them to do so. Once the request is made after payment of the claim has occurred, the lien claimant is required to immediately prepare and execute a release of lien rights, and deliver the release to the person making the payment.

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