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I'm a contractor who is having difficulty getting paid by a home owner. At what point should I file a mechanic's lein?

Fairfield, CT |

There are three parties involved: an insurance co. who is paying for the work, the home owner who contracted with us to perform the work, and the mortgage co. who must jointly release payment for the work. We have completed the job and the ehome owner is attempting to extort additional (out of scope) work from us by not signing off on the project to his mortgage co. He has received the funds from the insurance co. and he has delayed forwarding checks to the mortgages co. The mortgage co. assures me that they will not issue checks that don't require my signature. But, the home owner is delaying the proceess. I lack any real leverage since the work is already completed.

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Attorney answers 1


Hi I am Attorney Max Rosenberg and practice in Connecticut and New York.

To answer your question, you should file a lien immediately to protect yourself.

“. . . the important purpose of mechanic's lien statutes to provide an inexpensive and simple method for material suppliers and contractors to secure the value of the services or materials that they have added to the property.” Red Rooster Construction Co. v. River Associates, 224 Conn. 563, 573, 620 A.2d 118 (1993).

A mechanic's lien shall not continue in force for a longer period than one year after the lien has been perfected, unless the party claiming the lien commences an action to foreclose it, by complaint, cross-complaint or counterclaim, and records a notice of lis pendens in evidence thereof on the land records of the town in which the lien is recorded within one year from the date the lien was recorded or within sixty days of any final disposition of an appeal taken in accordance with section 49-35c, whichever is later. Each such lien, after the expiration of the one-year period or sixty-day period, as the case may be, without action commenced and notice thereof filed as aforesaid, shall be invalid and discharged as a matter of law. An action to foreclose a mechanic's lien shall be privileged in respect to assignment for trial. With respect to any such lien which was validated in accordance with the provisions of section 49-37a, the one-year period or sixty-day period, as the case may be, shall toll from the date of the validation.” Conn. Gen. Stats. § 49-39 (2005).

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