Once you have wrapped your mind around the first three parts of this series on mechanics liens, it will be time to bring it down to the primary concern:
“How Much” may I claim in my lien?
The short answer is: “The amount which remains past due from your client, on the project referenced in the mechanics lien.” Now this is quite simple, and should be your focus if you want to make certain the amount being claimed in your mechanics lien is unchallenged, when it is presented to a Judge. However, most who have gone this far in the collections process, are concerned about recovering the cost they have incurred above and beyond that which remains unpaid. Things like late fees, document fees, filing fees, courier, recording, the list goes on. How can I get re-imbursed for all of these added cost to collect the money that was due to me in the first place?
The natural reaction is to add all of these cost to the mechanics lien. Granted that the owner is ultimately responsible for satisfying a mechanics lien which is litigated in your favor. However, it may not be his responsibility to repay all of your residual costs.
To be on the safe side, take the path which will afford you the greatest degree of success.
- First and foremost, go after the owner for the amount which is unquestionably supported by the lien laws. By claiming only this amount you significantly improve your opportunity to be successful in court.
- Second, make sure your attorney is aware of all of the cost you have incurred and insist that he ask the Judge to award these in addition to the amount claimed in the mechanics lien.
Yes, you did absorb many unexpected expenses to advance your mechanic lien to this stage. However, making the mistake of not understanding how the mechanics lien laws work and adding these expenses to the amount of the lien, may result with a discharged lien and no legal right to refile your claim. This means you loose all the benefits you initially secured by seeking the protection of the mechanics lien laws.
To play it safe you should consider:
- File a proper mechanics lien for the amount you may legally claim.
- You may also file a breach of contract action against your customer who originally agreed to pay you for the materials or services you provided. (It is not your fault the job went bad. You may not collect twice for the lien. However, you may win a judgement for ancillary cost from the party who inadvertently caused you to select a mechanics lien as a means of collecting this unpaid balance.)
- Make sure that the signed contract or sales agreement, you enter into with your customer, has a clause that will allow you to seek payment for all and any collections expenses you may incur to collect the amounts due.
Now that you have an understanding as to how to be on the safe side of the mechanics lien process, we invite you to always start with a throughly researched preliminary notice. Choosing CRM Lien Services, Inc. to be your notice preparation service is one sure way to make this process affordable and effective.
For more information please select the “Contact Us” button below.