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Without Notice of Lien

Washington DCMechanics Lien

In March 2018, the contractor sued me for non-payment through arbitration because we signed the home renovation loan's agreement that we are required to go through arbitration. In October 2018, we won the arbitration case against the contractor due to a lack of justification. A few weeks ago, I asked the bank to close out the renovation loan but they ordered the final title in order to make sure if there are no liens on our property prior to proceeding with the close-out renovation loan. The bank notified me immediately that there is still a lien on my property so I was shocked that the contractor placed the lien on my property in April 2018 without my knowledge. The contractor never sent a copy of the notice of DC Mechanic's lien to me. I just received a copy of the termination letter from the contractor in April 2018. They never mentioned the lien on the letter. I talked with the American Arbitration Association Law Administrator if it is possible for them to fill out the release of lien since we won the arbitration case. Unfortunately, they cannot do that and suggest talking to my attorney about the lien. How can you deal with the situation? What if they refuse to release the lien?

1 reply

Jan 22, 2019
I'm sorry to hear about that. In Washington DC, a mechanics lien must be served on the property owner within 5 days of recording the lien. Unlike some other states, it's not clear whether failure to send notice of the lien filing will result in the lien becoming invalid and unenforceable - but any deviation from the mechanics lien statute could potentially result in the unenforceability of the filed lien. Further, where an arbitrator has determined there is no debt owed to the eventual lien claimant, there might be a strong argument that the mechanics lien was invalid and/or frivolous to begin with. Of course, when dealing with a filed mechanics lien, it's generally a good idea to consult with a local construction or real estate attorney to present them with all of the facts and relevant information. Upon taking a deeper look at the circumstances, they'll be able to advise on a course of action - such as potentially challenging the lien action in court. Note, of course, that before taking official action, merely threatening legal action if the lien is not removed could be effective to have a contractor remove their lien - especially if particular issues with the lien filing can be identified as a basis for the lien's removal. Lastly, this article may be helpful: A Mechanics Lien Was Filed on My Property – What Do I Do Now?
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