I am a General Contractor in the state of Washington. An architect asked me to help on a project he was doing for his client.

Asked 12 months ago - Bothell, WA

My payment arrangement was as a subcontractor to the architect. The client has not paid the architect for the work done so I have not been paid. This was verbal agreement between me and the architect as we have been friends for many years I trusted I would be paid. The work was performed between August 5 and August 30 2013. Can I put a lien on either party for payment of wages not paid?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. William Thomas Willard

    Pro

    Contributor Level 9

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . In Washington, if the right steps are taken, it can be possible to put lien on the property where the work was performed and it may also be possible to make a breach of contract claim. Washington state law requires that a notice of lien claim be filed not later than ninety days after the person has ceased to furnish labor, professional services, materials, or equipment or the last date on which employee benefit contributions were due. 90 days actually means 90 calendar days. The procedures set out in the law must be strictly followed for a lien claim to be successful. There are requirements for notices to be given before the work is done in some circumstances - but not in others. Failure to carefully follow the requirements of the lien statute can invalidate a lien. In a lien action the winner can recover their attorneys fees – so the worker or subcontractor can recover attorneys fees from the property owner - but if the lien rules are not followed the property owner can recover from the worker or subcontractor. The breach of contract claim is not limited by the lien statute rules and is based on the agreement between the parties who arranged for the work to be done.

    Information given is general for information purposes only and does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with an attorney of your choice to fully advise you about your legal rights and obligations. Actual legal advice can only be provided after completing a comprehensive consultation in which all of the relevant facts are discussed and reviewed.

    Information given is general for information purposes only and does not create an attorney-client relationship.... more
  2. Elizabeth Rankin Powell

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If the principal amount you are owed is less than $5K, please consider filing a small claim for your wages. if your agreement was with the architect, it is immaterial whether or not he's been paid by the client, because he hasn't paid you. That is no excuse to short an old friend. If it really is wages, ask for twice what you should have received. Is this a lienable event? Unless you contributed materials or labor to a physical project, I'd say you are better off suing than asserting a lien. Elizabeth Powell

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  3. Robert Daniel Kelly

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . You should have a standard contract written agreement before you start work (even if the contractor is a friend). Nonetheless, you are entitled to "quantum meruit" (what it is worth). I would probably recommend doing a lawsuit. You can identify a good attorney for litigation on FindLaw. (See link below.)

    [In accordance with the Avvo community guidelines, this communication does not constitute "legal advice", nor does... more

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