Homeowners who decide to remodel their homes often hire contractors to do the repair or remodeling work. The general contractor will typically enter an agreement with the homeowner, but will often hire suppliers, laborers, and subcontractors to make sure the project is completed on time and the work meets the agreed upon standard.
A homeowner will typically pay the general contractor for the work performed, and the general contractor will be responsible for paying the other parties who worked on the project. If he or she fails to do so, a mechanic’s lien can be placed on your property. A construction law attorney can advise you on what to do next if a lien is placed on your property.
Filing a mechanic’s lien
Generally, the subcontractor or supplier has a duty to notify the homeowner of their contributions to the project within 20 to 30 days of making the contribution. If they are not properly paid for this contribution, they can then file a claim mechanic’s lien in Kane County or wherever the homeowner’s property is located. The homeowner will generally then have anywhere from two to six months to come to an agreement with the subcontractor or supplier. If they are unable to agree, the subcontractor or supplier will typically file a lawsuit against the homeowner.
If the subcontractor or supplier fails to file suit after a few months, the lien will likely no longer be valid. However, homeowners may eventually have trouble selling their property or getting a loan if it has a lien on it, so it is better to get rid of the lien as soon as possible.
How to avoid mechanic’s liens
The best option would be for you to do whatever you can to prevent a mechanic’s lien from being placed on your home. By writing joint checks out to both the general contractor and subcontractor/supplier at the same time or paying subcontractors/suppliers directly, you can ensure that they get paid. Another suggestion would be to put a lien waiver in your contract to protect you as the homeowner if the general contractor fails to pay other parties on the project.
Mechanics liens can hold you liable for your contractor’s negligence
Many homeowners are surprised to learn that even if they pay their general contractor for all work completed, you can still lose your house if subcontractors and suppliers on the project are not paid for their services and materials by the general contractor.
If your general contractor fails to pay the other parties involved with your remodeling project, you can file a lawsuit against them to recover payment. However, you will most likely need to pay the subcontractor or supplier within a short period of time to avoid losing your home, so waiting for damages from the lawsuit may not be an option. An attorney specializing in mechanic’s liens and other construction law issues may be able to advise you on how to protect yourself and your property.