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Scott G Wolfe

Scott Wolfe’s Answers

223 total


  • How long does a construction lien remain on file if it never goes to court? When does it expire?

    Former acquaintance filed a frivolous construction lien against me for $134, 500 on which he claims we had a verbal agreement. There is no written contract , we never had a verbal agreement and he is not a licensed contractor. The lien was filed o...

    Scott’s Answer

    In Wisconsin, mechanic lien claims are effective for 2 years. An action to enforce a mechanics lien must be initiated within 2 years from the filing of the lien, or the lien "expires." You can learn more about this here:
    http://www.zlien.com/mechanics-lien/wisconsin-lien-law-faqs/#When-is-the-Deadline-to-Enforce-a-Wisconsin-Mechanics-Lien-or-How-Long-is-My-Lien-Effective

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  • Do suppliers to suppliers have lien rights on private construction projects in Arkansas?

    Does a 2nd tier material supplier have lien rights in Arkansas (we are selling to a dealer, who is selling to a project)

    Scott’s Answer

    The previous answer states pretty definitely that there is a right for suppliers to suppliers to file a mechanics lien in Arkansas. At first, I disagreed completely, but upon a closer examination of the statutes, there is some ambiguity on the question. Therefore, there MAY be a right to file a mechanics lien for suppliers to suppliers in Arkansas. Here is why.

    Part 1: Lien right made available generally by Ark. Code § 18-44-101(a), which provides that:
    "Every contractor, subcontractor, or material supplier as defined in § 18-44-107 who supplies...in the construction or repair of an improvement...by virtue of a contract with the owner, proprietor, contractor, or subcontractor, or agent thereof..." shall have a lien right.

    §18-44-107 defines the "material supplier" term as follows: "any person who supplies materials, goods, fixtures, or any other tangible item to the contractor or a subcontractor, or an individual having direct contractual privity with such persons."

    The final clause of this §18-44-107 -- "or an individual having direct contractual privity with such persons" -- is a bit ambiguous. It seems as if a party could be defined as a material supplier if that party supplies materials to a party with direct contractual privity with a sub (even if that party is a material supplier). This may qualify them for a mechanics lien right.

    If they qualify for a lien right, they must then follow all of the requirements that a "material supplier" must follow.

    In Arkansas, this means sending (1) a Notice of Intent to Lien 10 days before a lien filing; and (2) A Notice to Owner and Contractor within 75 days of last furnishing materials; and finally (3) Filing a mechanics lien within 120 days after last furnishing materials. Further, on residential projects, there may be an additional requirement to send a "Pre-construction notice to owner" before work begins.

    You can see more about the Arkansas mechanics lien laws and frequently asked questions concerning the same here: http://www.zlien.com/mechanics-lien/arkansas-lien-law-faqs/

    Finally, you can see a state-by-state chart of where suppliers to suppliers do and do not have mechanics lien and bond claim rights here: http://www.zlien.com/articles/suppliers-to-suppliers-mechanics-lien-bond-rights/

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  • When can a worker file a property lien?

    The worker states that he was not paid by a sub of the general contractor for roofing work done back in November, and intends to file a lien on my property. Is there a statute of limitations on how long an individual can file a property lien? Do...

    Scott’s Answer

    Any laborer to a construction project in California can file a mechanics lien if they are unpaid for their work. They must file the lien within a certain timeframe, which is typically 90 days from the end of the entire project. You can learn more about the timeframe here:
    http://www.zlien.com/mechanics-lien/california-lien-law-faqs/

    You can also learn more in this article: How to file a mechanics lien in California:
    http://www.zlien.com/articles/how-to-file-a-mechanics-lien-in-california/

    Good luck.

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  • Our small construction company did work for a larger company & now they are delinquent in payments & are not responding to calls

    We did a number of construction projects for a larger construction company as sub contractors with contracts and now they are very delinquent in payments ( even though they agree they owe us money the few times we have gotten a hold of a person) a...

    Scott’s Answer

    If you have met all the requirements and still have time, filing a mechanics lien is an optimal option. It will impact the project owner, who can join your fight against the general contractor, and it will put you in the best position to get paid. You can learn more about Minnesota's lien law requirements in the link below. Good luck.

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  • Title co refusing to pay on properly filed mechanics lien because I did not attempt to litigate within 180 days in Utah.

    I filed the mechanics lien (excavation/construction related) myself...properly, I did not use an attorney because I have filed other mechanics liens in the past and have been paid. Evidently statutes have changed and in my Utah state code research...

    Scott’s Answer

    Your understanding of the Utah foreclosure period is correct. More complete information about this 180 day requirement can be found on this Utah Mechanics Lien Law Resources & FAQs page:
    http://www.zlien.com/mechanics-lien/utah-lien-law-faqs/#When-is-the-Deadline-to-Enforce-a-Utah-Mechanics-Lien-or-How-Long-is-My-Lien-Effective

    If you would have filed the lawsuit during the required 180 day period, you would have had the title company interested in your claim. Now, they will be insulated completely from your claim, and not concerned with your debt at all.

    Nevertheless, as explained in some other answers, the debt still exists. You can only proceed against the party who you contracted with directly, however, through a direct legal action, which will be slow, expensive, unpredictable, frustrating, and unfortunately, since the lien is gone...unsecured.

    Best of luck.

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  • Georgia Lien Waiver. Do you have to file a pre-lien notice? If so how many days?

    If we did not file a pre-lien can we still file after 30 days?

    Scott’s Answer

    If the question is whether you can file a mechanics lien if you did not file a preliminary notice or "pre-lien" notice, here is the rule:
    http://www.zlien.com/mechanics-lien/georgia-lien-law-faqs/#Do-I-need-to-send-a-Georgia-Preliminary-Notice

    Q: Do you need to send preliminary notice in Georgia

    A: Georgia Mechanics Lien Frequently Asked Questions
    It depends. Notice is never required for a prime contractor, or any party in direct contractual relation with the owner. For all other parties, if a Notice of Commencement is not filed, no preliminary notice is required. However, a party is allowed to file a Preliminary Notice of Lien. This notice prevents lien rights from being knocked out by a prime contractor’s affidavit or lien waiver attesting to the payment of all subcontractors and suppliers. This notice should be filed with the clerk of the superior court of the county in which the project is located, and a copy of the filed notice should be sent to the owner and general contractor within 7 days of filing by certified mail return receipt requested. If a Notice of Commencement was filed, all potential lien claimants not in direct contractual relation with the general contractor must send a Notice to Contractor to the property owner and the general contractor.

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  • As a subcontractor wanting to file a mechanic's lien how do I obtain consent signed the property owner from the general contract

    The job was beautifully done and the homeowner was very happy with the work and the general contractor claims to have spent the labor money on personal bills and while doing my research on mechanics lien it states that I must obtain consent signed...

    Scott’s Answer

    I agree with the other attorney's response, but would add one clarification to his comment. His response states that "for existing residences..." the consent requirement is triggered. It may be meaningful to be more specific about this.

    "For owner-occupied residential projects of 4 units of less, only parties with a direct contract with the owner-occupier may assert a mechanic’s lien unless the owner has signed a consent of owner document allowing mechanics liens by unpaid subs and suppliers." This comes from the Missouri Mechanics Lien FAQs and Resources here: http://www.zlien.com/mechanics-lien/missouri-lien-law-faqs/

    This comes from §429.013, which you can read in full here:
    http://www.zlien.com/mechanics-lien/missouri-lien-statute/#-429013-Definitions--Subcontractor-to-Have-Lien--When--Consent-of-Owner-Form--Requirements--Penalties-for-Violation

    It only applies as follows:
    "The provisions of this section shall apply only to the repair or remodeling of or addition to owner-occupied residential property of four units or less. The term “owner” means the owner of record at the time any contractor, laborer or materialman agrees or is requested to furnish any work, labor, material, fixture, engine, boiler or machinery. The term “owner-occupied” means that property which the owner currently occupies, or intends to occupy and does occupy as a residence within a reasonable time after the completion of the repair, remodeling or addition which is the basis for the lien sought, pursuant to this section. The term “residential property” means property consisting of four or less existing units to which repairs, remodeling or additions are undertaken. This section shall not apply to the building, construction or erection of any improvements constituting the initial or original residential unit or units or other improvements or appurtenances forming a part of the original development of the property. "

    Hope this helps, and good luck.

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  • Can I file a mechanic's lien on a property owner who did not pay balance of a contract?

    Former client terminated our work on 2/17/15. Work would have been completed by end of the week. Request for payment made. Former client is claiming work was not complete, will not pay balance and says we owe them money for work that was compl...

    Scott’s Answer

    Not sure why you wouldn't be entitled to file a lien. If you are owed money, you can file the lien. Learn more about the legal requirements in California here:
    http://www.zlien.com/mechanics-lien/california-lien-law-faqs/

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  • What is CA law requiring a general contractor to pay sub contractors when an invoice is submitted?

    Pay when paid?

    Scott’s Answer

    Point 1: Payment Provisions in your Contract
    As someone has already commented, a "pay when paid" clause may be enforceable, but it will not keep you unpaid forever. If you have a "pay when paid" provision in your contract, you must be paid when the GC gets paid....or within a "reasonable amount of time," whichever happens first. There is no clear cut answer to what is a "reasonable amount of time." Learn more about this in the article: Pay when paid and Pay if paid clauses (in a nutshell):
    http://www.zlien.com/articles/pay-when-paid-and-pay-if-paid-in-a-nutshell/

    Point 2: Prompt Payment Laws
    California has specific prompt payment laws, which require payment to you within certain timeframes once the GC gets paid. You can read about those laws here:
    http://www.zlien.com/prompt-payment/california-prompt-payment-law-faqs/

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  • Should I hire an attorney for a Breach of Contract Claim against a SubContractor before filing my Claim of Lien?

    I did a metal polishing job for a subcontractor that installed a staircase with many structural defects. I sent a Notice to the Owner while work was in progress. We finished the job 2 months ago and this past week the owner of the subcontracted co...

    Scott’s Answer

    I agree with many of the attorneys who have responded to your question. They are touching on two different elements to your question.

    First, whether you can file a lawsuit against the subcontractor directly. The answer to this question is yes, you can. You likely have a claim against the subcontractor, and you can file a suit against the subcontractor without involving the property owner or any other party. Do note, however, that once you file your suit, the subcontractor could (and likely would) bring claims against other parties they think are responsible for any damages. This may include other contractors, and the property owner (i.e. your client). Accordingly, even though you think that a direct action against the subcontractor will keep the property owner out of the dispute, it may be out of your hands. The subcontractor may bring in this party anyway.

    The second element of your question relates to the mechanics lien right. You asked whether you can file a suit before the lien, and the answer to that direct question is "yes." This is because your right to file a lien is completely disconnected from your right to file a suit. You can file a suit - end of sentence. You can also file a lien -- end of sentence.

    Both of these things -- suit and lien -- are rights. You need not actually use them both, or use either of them.

    However, as expressed by many of the answers provided to you already, the right to file a lien is only given to you for a short amount of time...and once that time passes, it goes away forever. The lien right is a security right that will best protect you (likely), and accordingly, you must be careful about voluntarily letting it go.

    Learn more about Florida's mechanics lien laws here:
    http://www.zlien.com/mechanics-lien/florida-lien-law-faqs/

    And good luck.

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