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Mechanic’s Liens

The Mechanics’ Lien law provides special protection to contractors, subcontractors, laborers and suppliers who furnish labor or materials to repair, remodel or build your home.

If any of these people are not paid for the services or materials they have provided, your home may be subject to a mechanics’ lien and eventual sale in a legal proceeding to enforce the lien. This result can occur even when the homeowner has made full payment for the work of improvement.

The mechanics’ lien is a right that a state gives to workers and suppliers to record a lien and ensure payment. This lien may be recorded where the property owner has paid the contractor in full and the contractor then fails to pay the subcontractors, suppliers, or laborers. Thus, in the worst case, a homeowner may actually end up paying twice for the same work.

The theory is that the value of the property upon which the labor or materials have been bestowed has been increased by virtue of these efforts and the homeowner who has reaped this benefit is required in return to act as the ultimate guarantor of full payment to the persons responsible for this increase in value. In practice, a homeowner faced with a valid mechanics’ lien may be compelled to pay the lien claimant and then pursue conventional legal remedies against the contractor or subcontractor who initially failed to pay the lien claimant but who himself was paid by the homeowner. Another justification for this result relates to the relative financial strengths of the parties to a work of improvement. The law views the property owner as being in a better situation to absorb the financial setback occasioned by having to pay the amount of a valid mechanics’ lien, as opposed to a laborer or material man who is viewed as being less able to absorb the financial burdens occasioned by not being paid for services or materials provided in connection with a work of improvement.

The best protection against these claims is for the homeowner to employ reputable firms with sufficient experience and capital and/or require completion and payment bonding of the construction work. The issuance of checks payable jointly to the contractor, material men and suppliers is another protective measure, as is the careful disbursement of funds in phases based upon the percentage of completion of the project at a given point in the construction process. The protection offered by mechanics’ lien releases can also be helpful.

Even if a mechanics’ lien is recorded against your property you may be able to resolve the problem without further payment to the lien claimant. This possibility exists where the proper procedure for establishing the lien was not followed. While it is true that persons who have provided labor, services, or materials to a job site may record mechanics’ liens, each is required to strictly adhere to a well-established procedure in order to create a valid mechanics’ lien.

Needless to say, this is one area of the law that is very complex, thus it may be worthwhile to consult an attorney if you become aware that a mechanics’ lien has been recorded against your property. In the event you discover that a lien has been recorded but no effort has been made to enforce the lien, a title company may decide to ignore the lien. However, be prepared to be presented with a positive plan to eliminate the title problems created by this type of lien. This may be accomplished by means of a recorded mechanics’ lien release from the person who created the lien, or other measures acceptable to the title company.

As in all areas of the real estate field, the best advice is to investigate the quality, integrity, and business reputation of the firm with whom you are dealing. Once you are satisfied you are dealing with a reputable company and before you begin your construction project, discuss your concerns about possible mechanics’ lien problems and work out, in advance, a method of ensuring that they will not occur.

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© 2017 St. Augustine and St. Johns County MLS. All rights reserved. Information deemed to be reliable but not guaranteed. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes from St. Augustine and St. Johns County MLS and the Broker Reciprocity Program.sm. Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than RE/MAX 100 Reallty are marked with the BR logo and detailed information about them includes the name of the listing brokers. All measurements and all calculations of area (i.e., Sq Ft and Acreage) are approximate. Listing broker has attempted to offer accurate data, but buyers are advised to confirm all items. Information last updated on 2017-08-17.

Copyright 2017 Northeast Florida Multiple Listing Service, Inc. All rights reserved. The data relating to real estate for sale on this web site comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange (IDX) program of the Northeast Florida Multiple Listing Service, Inc. Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than RE/MAX 100 Reallty are marked with the listing brokers name and detailed information about such listings includes the name of the listing brokers. Data provided is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed. RE/MAX 100 Reallty does not display the entire Northeast Florida Multiple Listing Service, Inc. data exchange program database on this web site. The listings of some real estate brokerage firms have been excluded. Last updated on 2017-08-17.

Any use of search facilities of data on the site, other than by a consumer looking to buy, sell or lease real estate is prohibited. Based on information from Northeast Florida Multiple Listing Service, Inc that was updated on 2017-08-17. The Corporation does not guarantee and is not in any way responsible for, its accuracy. Data maintained by Northeast Florida Multiple Listing Service, Inc. does not reflect all real estate activity in the market.

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