Now, this isn’t legal advice. It’s just an outline of a process that lots of guys get wrong — mechanics liens.
Before we jump in together I should say that filing a mechanic’s lien without having a contract is like building a house without a foundation. The first thing a craftsman should get right is having the work described in writing and signed by the customer. If you have not read the post on this and followed the advice then you should start here: Contracts Avoid Arguments and Lawsuits
Did you check the records to see who the real owner is as soon as you got a hint of a problem? You should do this on any job where you can’t afford to be ripped off. If payment is overdue by 30 days, call your lawyer! 502-458-5879. The lawyers can check in minutes and save you thousands of dollars.
With your signed estimate in hand, and the work actually ended, you may have to send certain notices. Let’s hope its not too late. If you did not deal with the owner, you have to send a notice of your intent to hold the property responsible. You have 75 days if the job was owner-occupied or under $1000 and120 days if not owner-occupied and over $1000. KRS §376.010 sets out the rules. Take a look:
Mechanic’s Liens — Filing of statement — Notice to owner
By now you are probably realizing that you’ll save time by using a lawyer. There are different styles of drafting documents and as long as a notice complies with the statute, it should be fine. We’ve found some forms out there to give you an idea what that might look like. Realize that there are many styles. Here is one example:
Whew. Glad that’s done on time! Now we can just sit back and wait for the check! Oh wait! Was that the correct person for sending the notice? Hope so…
Next thing you have to do is prepare the lien statement. This is filed and sent regardless of who you dealt with. Again we got samples from the Heuser Law Office:
So now what do you do with this fine form? It gets filed in the county clerk’s office where the property is located. It must be filed within six (6) months of the last work date and a copy sent to the owner of the property. That’s two notices if you didn’t deal with the owner.
After proper notice and proper filing, you still may have to sue to get paid. Good thing you have an “attorney fees” clause in your proposal form! Otherwise, you might not find a lawyer you can afford. The reason for a signed proposal is to shift the cost of collection to any deadbeats who don’t pay. You don’t want your profits going for attorney fees!
By the way, this isn’t legal advice. Don’t rely on it without talking to an attorney!