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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I filed a mechanic's lien (GC) on a new construction I was building for a homeowner after he would not pay. They finished the house themselves and then hired a lawyer to file a contest the lien. Then filed a complaint against my company based upon that! I contacted a lawyer who said I would have to give him a $3000 deposit just to start! The lien was just over $7,000. Unfortunately, in Florida a company must hire a lawyer an owner can not represent the company. I found this to defeat the purpose of mechanic's liens and put's small contractors in a bind. Any ideas on how to fight this?
 

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I filed a mechanic's lien (GC) on a new construction I was building for a homeowner after he would not pay. They finished the house themselves and then hired a lawyer to file a contest the lien. Then filed a complaint against my company based upon that! I contacted a lawyer who said I would have to give him a $3000 deposit just to start! The lien was just over $7,000. Unfortunately, in Florida a company must hire a lawyer an owner can not represent the company. I found this to defeat the purpose of mechanic's liens and put's small contractors in a bind. Any ideas on how to fight this?
Don't know how Florida lien law works, but in the future put a mandatory arbitration clause in your contract.
 

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Mike, they decided to become owner/builder. Didn't expect any (many) attorneys browsing for new clients, just others with similar experience. No contract errors. They can do that in Florida. You file a legitimate lien, homeowner countersuit, and you have to hire an attorney to get your money back or owe them attorney fees.
 

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Arbitration clause on all my contracts. courts seem to overlook when suits are filed.
Contracts are full of language that courts routinely throw out. I put things in my contracts that most attorneys would laugh at, but my clients read it and assume because it’s in the contract that they have to abide by it. The only thing better than an ironclad contract is a contract that the other party believes to be ironclad.
There’s a reason why contracts have a severability clause.
 

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Then I guess you need to get together with your attorney and put in a clause that states customer is responsible for legal fees.

I don’t know what else to tell you. You can always try the ol‘ ”hammer to the forehead” routine, since it’s impossible to obtain justice in this country anymore.
 

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Eat the 7k & call it a class in construction education. Not being snarky, you know where your @ so what do you or can you expect. 2 sides to every fence. We don’t know or care of the details


Mike
Bull chit! I wanna know all the details. Give it to me Judge Judy style! No fluff, just the facts. How’d you screw the customer? Were you surprised when they caught you? Is 7K gonna sink your “bidness”?

‘Go on and spill it, i’ll pretend I care even if @Kingcarpenter1 won’t.
 

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When you file a lein in Florida, you have to take action on the lein within a year.

When you hire the attorney, he will file a "Civil Remedy Notice" with the Department of Revenue.

The owners will be served and they will have around 30 days to respond and resalve the issue. If they do not, your attorney will file suit. Because you filed the CRN, if you win the case, you will be entitled to 3 times the original damages or in your case, $ 21,000.00 plus legal costs. It all depends on your contract. You can expect the case to take about two years before you get a hearing date.

So you should expect the $ 3,000.00 to be start up money. You should expect legal cost to run about 15 to 30 grand if you take it to the end.

However, the owners also have to have an attoreny. So unless the attorney is a freind or family, they too will have to put out a retainer with their attorney. If you have clear evidence and the facts favor you, in time their attorney will advise them to pay up but it will take time to get to that point.

So it will become a battle of trueition to see who blinks first.

Once you pay the retainer, expect to pay more as stated but not all at once so you will have time to put together the $ for the legal fees.

Hopefully, you have late fees and cost in your contract agreement.

I recommend you put an appraisal clause in your contracts. If this happens again, it will cut the time down significantly and put you in a stronger position in the future.

Good luck!
 

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Also, if you’re a licensed general contractor and you’re complaining about $3000 for an attorney I have bad news for you. You should have had a working relationship with an attorney a long time ago.
I disagree, I've been in business for 16 yrs and never needed a attorney. Hell I couldn't tell you the last time I had a signed contract, never been beat out of money.

To the OP, chalk it up to a loss, your gonna spend 10k to get the 7k and even then no real way to actually get the money. I'm with WBailey what's the story here?
 

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I disagree, I've been in business for 16 yrs and never needed a attorney. Hell I couldn't tell you the last time I had a signed contract, never been beat out of money.

To the OP, chalk it up to a loss, your gonna spend 10k to get the 7k and even then no real way to actually get the money. I'm with WBailey what's the story here?
I have a similar experience, with one exception. It can and does happen to just about everybody. I had to file a lien after not being paid for framing. Knew it would cost me 2k for a 10k job, but in reality, I would have paid the whole 10k if thats what it cost. I have a weird thing about standing on principle.
 

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Not sure about every state, but in Ohio it does. After filing my lien, I eventually hired an attorney to sue for my money. Got my settlement, and didn't know that I was the one who had to release the lien. Got a call 18 months later, that a home sale was held up due to my lien still being attached.

Ooops
So doesn’t the lien stay on the property forever until withdrawn or cleared? They can’t sell the house with a lien in place … right?
 
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