Mechanic’s liens are more common than you think and have nothing to do with mechanics who service your vehicle. A mechanic’s lien is known as a legal claim that is open against your home. This, if left unaddressed, can lead to foreclosure, fees, or loss of property title value for future sale or other financial action. Ascent Law can assist you in removing and legally addressing an open mechanic’s lien on your home. In this blog post, we explore what a mechanic’s lien is, what it can be filed for, methods to address them effectively, and what you should do if you have been notified of such a lien on your home.
What is a mechanic’s lien?
While the name may be misleading, a mechanic’s lien is a legal complaint that can be filed against and tied to your home. It is considered a type of stay on your property and must be filed by your local government in order to be valid and legally enforceable. These can be common if you are investing in your home, as in different forms of home improvement, or if you just purchased or sold a house. Generally, these liens will not apply to renters in the state of Utah, although there have been cases in California state law that may result in different preceding case law for other states going forward.
These liens can be filed if a contractor did not pay their subcontractors in accordance with their contractual obligation to do so. In the state of Utah, this also applies to suppliers as well, if they were not properly paid by the contractor for materials used in the construction or upgrades to the home. This can be very problematic to homeowners, as they will ultimately be held legally responsible for the lack of (and completion of) the payment. This is not a type of debt that can be ignored or otherwise put off, as it can significantly impact your ability to refinance, sell, or otherwise take advantage of your financial benefits as a homeowner.
What to do if a mechanic’s lien has been opened on your property in the state of Utah
It is important to act quickly once you have received notification that a mechanic’s lien has been opened on your property. After you have been given notice, you will have limited time to respond and take action on that lien. Just because a lien has been placed on the home, it does not mean that you must immediately pay and satisfy the lien. Your best first step would be to reach out to an attorney who specializes in working with mechanic’s liens and ask for their legal opinion on how to proceed. In some cases, you may be able to file with your attorney for a wrongful lien placed on your home, which would protect your interests in the event of a false claim.
If upon inspection, the lien is valid and legally binding in the state of Utah, you may move forward with taking action to satisfy the lien.
Note for contractors filing a release of lien in the state of Utah
It is not enough to receive the amount requested. Instead, there is an additional process that must be completed or else you may be eligible for additional fines and fees. A release of lien must be filed after the payment is satisfied, indicating that the lien has been fully paid and can be removed from the home. The process for submitting a release of lien is different in every state which is why having a Utah-based attorney can be advantageous to help settle the claim.
How to avoid mechanic’s liens as a homeowner
When it comes to upgrading, buying, or selling your home, it can feel overwhelming. After all, you are not entirely in control of when and how your contractor may be paying other third-party home services, such as subcontractors or suppliers. Mechanic’s liens are serious but can be largely avoided with proper prior vetting, planning, and precautionary steps in place. Below is a list of things that you can do to mitigate your risk for a mechanic’s lien:
- Request that General Contractors send waivers. Many people aren’t aware of this, but you can ask your contractor to send a general lien waiver along with any relevant purchasing information at any point that outside materials or subcontractor work are required for work on the property. This protects you as the homeowner from the financial obligation that must be fulfilled through the mechanic’s lien process.
- Read reviews for your contractor or contracting company used. Research is vital in any situation, and home improvement is no exception. It is important to vet who you are working with to ensure that they have a good reputation and long history of proper payment and work to minimize your risk as a homeowner.
Mechanic’s liens can be personally and financially devastating. If you’re facing a mechanic’s lien, you don’t have to do it alone. The experts at Ascent Law are here to help you resolve your dispute to completion. For more information and to book your free intro call, please contact the main office at (801) 432-8682. Our lawyers are standing by to assist!