View Full Version : mechanics lien

01-22-2004, 12:57 AM
I knew better but did it anyway.

Did a clean out for a real estate company (local) who was managing a foreclosed property for an REO. Did the job for $950.00 and submitted invoice on 12-17-03. No money so far. I call the real estate agent checking status. I was to invoice his company........not the REO.

I called to check on the status Monday
" Oh, let me give them a call and I'll get back with you".

Never did.

I call back Tuesday and now it's " She never called back so I e-mailed her......should find out soon and I'll call you back".

Never did.:blob2:

I called today, Wednesday........"where's the money?"

"OH.......I got that e-mail back and she said they were doing some accounting changes and it would be late February early March before we would get paid".

I let him know in no uncertain terms that this was unacceptable. I need my money now and March ain't gonna cut it. I also let him know that my deal was with him.....not the REO......and since he requested that I invoice him he is responsible for payment and that said payment is now 37 days old. He said he would talk with his broker and let me know something this afternoon. At 4:58PM I called him........."Whudja find out?"

Him."I e-mailed them back and told them I needed to hear from a supervisor.......we should know something in the morning".

Is it just me or is something wrong here?

I'm bout to blow an artery, we're not talkin' chump change......not for me anyway. My thoughts are filing a mechanics lien against the property if I don't have a check for the full amount in my hand tomorrow by the end of the day. This won't really affect the local real estate company in any way other than they would be wasting their time showing this dump..........but it might get the ball rolling on the REO's part and for $12.00 it would be a fun excercise.

Has this worked for anybody else and does the threat of doing such a thing light a fire under some azzes?

Comments would be very benificial right now cause I just can't seem to let this go. I think my blood pressure is up and I don't even have them kind of problems.

01-22-2004, 01:34 AM
:) Homer id take it to small claims court, youll get your money youve done the work and sumitted your billing and they don't have a leg to stand on....Thats what i would do, maybe the lien will work, i wish ya the best...If it don't take it to court.......Marks Mowing Service

01-22-2004, 01:37 AM
They never said they weren't going to pay............but I ain't one to wait 60- 90 days. The lien was a way to keep them from moving the property......a way for them to see I needed my money.

01-22-2004, 01:47 AM
For $12 why wouldn't you put the lein on. It only makes sense. I have an associate who is waitig on $750 for the EXACT same thing. I warned him. I will recommend the lein to him as well.

01-22-2004, 01:58 AM
I'm hoping the threat of placing the lien will do the trick but like you said.......for $12.00 it'll be money well spent.

I shuda known betta!

01-22-2004, 02:28 AM
I was wondering if you could still take them to small claims court if you don't have anything written? This is happening to me. never got the contract back but did work.(cutting)

01-22-2004, 02:31 AM
Ya............I think you could because a verbal agreement is a contract. If you can prove you did the work then there ya go.

01-22-2004, 02:37 AM
I hope so. Time is running out for them. I will give them one more chance.

the scaper
01-22-2004, 03:08 AM
homer, i'm the associate that totalcare was talking about. my services were rendered on 11/11/03 so if you think you're about to pop an artery you obviously havnt met me. i was told a week ago by the agent who is also middle manning the deal kinda like your situation, that he contacted the bank who has the foreclosure and they said my check is in the process, for some reason the property had to be listed first and all the eviction processes, code violations etc. have to be in order before they pay out. this agent is a 15 yr Friend of mine and he has 9 other forclosiers from the same bank. he says some of the other service providers have already been paid. so i'm still holding out a little hope for payment. i am hesitant to file a $12 lean myself because i dont want to put a damper on my friends sale. he is a very ethical agent who has been in the real biz for a long time and though slow to get my money for me at times, he has always come through for me. i do alot of work for other agents in the same area many of whom know each other so i dont want to jump the gun on this, not that waiting over two months is really jumping the gun. BTW dont think for a second that i'm trying to justify a slow payment cause that aint the case (i think its a buncha sh) but he assured me i would get my money so i'm just hanging tight. it's a big chunk of $ for me too but it will be well worth it to see if my Friend will stand by and watch the people he's dealing with screw someone who has done a lot of good work for him over the years. i'm banking that he wont but we'll see. my biggest mistake (assuming i get paid) is that i didnt put a late fee in the contract. i just put payment due upon completion and assumed they would accommodate me on that. well anyway, like i always say- what comes around goes around! BTW homer i always enjoy your posts , you have a good sence of humor. sorry for the long post. ~scaper

01-22-2004, 08:04 AM
Hey thanks for the compliment on the posts!

In my case I don't think it will hamper the sale of this dump.....or then again it might. Investors seem to be drawn to these types of houses. See, I don't want to wait another 30-45 days.......it ain't right and it ain't fair. When I talked with this agent before Christmas they obviously didn't tell him it would take that long.....or he never made the call. See I don't know who's telling the truth here and who's lieing like a dog. It could all be that that agent was slow about sending off the invoice and he's stalling somehow. If that's the case then this might just pull that out of him also. It should be interesting. If it's all on him and I threaten lien then he'll go-da squirmin'........if not then he'll just make his comments. Either way I don't consider it revenge I consider it business. If the shoe were on the other foot then I know where I'd be by now.........collection services would be starting to call!

01-22-2004, 09:06 AM
Had some problems with a real estate company before told them was filing a lein finally got paid. Still do work for them just take a before and after picture charge 10.00 extra for estimate (pictures) paid for digital camera!

DFW Area Landscaper
01-22-2004, 11:19 AM
I looked into this extensively last summer. I figured out what you can and can't do with a mechanic's lien in Texas. I would assume the law is very similar in Alabama and every other state. But you never know.

In Texas you can only file a mechanic's lien against the property if you have constructed or repaired a property. And it also requires a written agreement between the owner of the property and the contractor. In Texas, you've only got so many days to file the mechanic's lien after the construction or repair is complete...I think it's 30 days.

The importance of the mechanic's lien is that it isn't against a person...it's against a property. So even if the owner goes bankrupt, if there is equity in the property after all the attorneys have been paid and the banks have their money, you get paid.

Maintenance is not included under the protections of the mechanic's lien in Texas. I think it sucks, but that's the way it is here. Perhaps it's different in Alabama.

DFW Area Landscaper

01-22-2004, 02:18 PM
DFW is correct I believe, you have to have installed something was my understanding. But that doesn't mean you can't threaten it anyway, they might not know it.

This is why I don't deal with real estate agents. I made an exception a couple years ago and took one on who was a referral next door to another customer. He was a great customer for 2 years, then when I moved, he decided that was his opportunity to skip out on his final 2 months' bill. 3 notices and no reply.

I did work for another one last year, but I insisted on monthly payment up front so I had zero exposure. I also charged an extra $5/cut for the home, which was for sale. It was next door to the above home and 3 others so I did well on it.


DFW Area Landscaper
01-22-2004, 02:32 PM
++++But that doesn't mean you can't threaten it anyway, they might not know it++++

Wouldn't recommend that. If you threaten to do something you have no right to do, I think it's extortion.

DFW Area Landscaper

01-22-2004, 08:46 PM
Well hell...................just when ya think ya got a handle on the situation.

I guess the alternative is to send it to collections against the real estate company.

Wouldn't that be a switch?

01-22-2004, 09:08 PM
What if you don't threaten anything specifically and just tell them that you may be forced to take further action for collecting if this does not get resolved soon? That way you are not "tied" down to a lein, collections agency, court, etc. and really are not tied down to anything else at all, but you still get the point across.

the scaper
01-22-2004, 09:29 PM
Originally posted by dwc
What if you don't threaten anything specifically and just tell them that you may be forced to take further action for collecting if this does not get resolved soon? That way you are not "tied" down to a lein, collections agency, court, etc. and really are not tied down to anything else at all, but you still get the point across. that sounds like a good idea...good wording.

01-22-2004, 09:39 PM
Some more legal words that don't threaten. "I will be forced to consider all myl legal options."

01-22-2004, 09:42 PM
I let my daddy take care of all that for me :o :) :cool: :confused: :blob3: :blob1: :blush: :dizzy: :laugh: :help: :realmad: :gunsfirin payup :D :p :rolleyes: :eek: :alien: :angry: :blob2: :blob4: :cry: :sleeping: :jester: :waving: :drinkup: :nono: :cool2:

Cutters Lawn Care
01-22-2004, 09:45 PM
Tell them your cousin Guido is coming down from New York with his baseball bat.

01-22-2004, 09:52 PM
Take the $12.00, buy some Round up and go out in the middle of the property and write (with a sprayer) BALANCE DUE AS OF NOW, $950. IF NOT PAID BY 12:00 TOMORROW, THE REST OF THE LAWN GETS IT!!! Revenge is sooooo sweet! Or you could post a sign in front of the property that says,

Cost of clean up=$950
Cost of repeated phone calls to collect debt=$25
Cost of having your business known in the
comunity for not paying it's bills=Priceless

01-22-2004, 10:31 PM
Homer, check your state law becuase in OH the law is
repaired, constucted or made a significant improvement in the value of the property.

01-22-2004, 11:56 PM
Homer it sounds like you have been lied to everywhich way in getting payment.It not right what they are doing.I dont know how alabama laws are down there.but a verbal agreement is the weakest type of agreement out.Too many ways to beat it in court.And there is no law for bad business ethics.They can badmouth your company,and many other things anymore.I wont do anything over a hundred dollars anymore without a written contract.People will cheat you anyway they can on paying you.I have a nat food rest chain I do and they still owe me $750. and I have them sign to a contract.But they dont care.I hope you get your money Homer because you are one of the good guys and you work hard for your money.If I was you I would contact your attorney and maybe he can send them a letter to scare them

01-23-2004, 09:14 AM
Alabama law states that "Every mechanic, person, firm, or corporation who shall do or perform any work, or labor upon, or furnish any material, fixture, engine, boiler, waste disposal services and equipment, or machinery for any building or improvement on land, or for repairing, altering, or beautifying the same, under or by virtue of any contract with the owner or proprietor thereof, or his or her agent, architect, trustee, contractor, or subcontractor, upon complying with the provisions of this division, shall have a lien therefore....."AlA. code 35-11-210.



I think I got em!:D

DFW Area Landscaper
01-23-2004, 10:28 AM

It looks like you got 'em. Wish I had that. I understand Oklahoma allows a mechanic's lien for labor on a property too. Sure wish it was that way here in Texas...it would make my life so much easier.

The mechanic's lien in Texas sucks. It's good for deadbeats, though.

DFW Area Landscaper

Team Gopher
01-23-2004, 12:29 PM
Hi Homer,

Here is a insightful quote from this post (http://server2.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=48819).

"Most states have some mechanism for pursuing debt. However your state is structured, check with the county court personnel for information.
I would caution you on what some posters have said about harassing and confronting non payers - after your first written, certified letter, with return receipt, have no further verbal discussion with them. In court it is here say and not admissable. Furthermore, you open yourself up to a harrasment claim and possible arrest.
Prior to this line of work, I was a police officer for nine years. I worked as a detective for eight of these years, half of it homicide and the rest investigating fraud like what you have experienced.
From what I observed, contracts don't mean diddly squat. You go to court, you have a lawyer, they have a lawyer - which ever lawyer is better, wins.
The best way to approach something like this is to activate whatever mechanism your state has for pursuit of bad debt and allow the court to do what it is supposed to. Document everything, accept no verbal agreements from debtors, or personal checks, and wait for your day in court. "

01-23-2004, 02:21 PM
If I were you I would have Roy D. Mercer call down there and get a handle on that there situatioon

01-23-2004, 03:03 PM
That or Bobby!

01-23-2004, 06:07 PM
Homer, read most of the posts. If it was me I'd give people 30 days to pay. Anything after 45 days I'd get antsy.

I've had very few people try and stiff me. However, one of my larger customers, an HOA, still hasn't paid a guy who put out straw for them. I was certian they'd pay on time so I told the guy to submit the invoice directly. They waited almost three months. I'm not sure if they payed it or not. They are usually with in 2 to 3 weeks of meeting my billing deadline. So oh well.


01-23-2004, 07:09 PM

01-23-2004, 08:37 PM

It's been 38 days now.

That in itself is really not the problem. What is the problem is when the guy I was dealing with called the company who's paying for all of this and they said it would be the end of February or the 1st part of March!

Now my real estate guy that I was talking to about this has avoided-ignored my messages for the last 2 days. No call backs on 4 messages.

If the truth were to come out I would almost believe now............he screwed up and didn't submit the invoice like he said he was going to do. Hell, it took 6 weeks for him to pay a $75.00 invoice that I hand delivered. I think he might be a little scatter brained.......he made the error........and now he's telling me anything and every thing to get the monkey off his back.

Had he kept the communication lines open I wouldn't think this way......he shut me off so I'm believing he has more to tell than he wants to.

My last message was this afternoon.
"I need you to call the company and make them aware that Monday morning I will be at the courthouse to file a lien against their property"

Still no response.

Will draft letter tonight and send certified to the real estate company.

I shudda knowed betta!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lesson to all that read this.......stay away from realtors........at least 90% of them anyway. I'm guessing there has to be at least 10% that might be good.

01-24-2004, 12:22 AM

Here is an actual paragraph from our lien law in Texas.

We are covered. You got bad advice.

§ 53.021. Persons Entitled to Lien

(a) A person has a lien if:

(1) the person labors, specially fabricates material, or furnishes labor or materials for construction or repair in this state of:

(A) a house, building, or improvement;

(B) a levee or embankment to be erected for the reclamation of overflow land along a river or creek; or

(C) a railroad; and

(2) the person labors, specially fabricates the material, or furnishes the labor or materials under or by virtue of a contract with the owner or the owner's agent, trustee, receiver, contractor, or subcontractor.

(b) A person who specially fabricates material has a lien even if the material is not delivered.

(c) An architect, engineer, or surveyor who prepares a plan or plat under or by virtue of a written contract with the owner or the owner's agent, trustee, or receiver in connection with the actual or proposed design, construction, or repair of improvements on real property or the location of the boundaries of real property has a lien on the property.

(d) A person who provides labor, plant material, or other supplies for the installation of landscaping for a house, building, or improvement, including the construction of a retention pond, retaining wall, berm, irrigation system, fountain, or other similar installation, under or by virtue of a written contract with the owner or the owner's agent, trustee, or receiver has a lien on the property.

Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 3535, ch. 576, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 395, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 1138, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 16, § 16.01, eff. Aug. 26, 1991.

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 851, §§ 1, 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 896, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

01-24-2004, 12:35 AM
You go sit at the real estate office and wait for this person to arrive. Then you ask them why they have not returned your calls about this debt.

No check go lien. Simple as that. Did you get a signed contract before you performed this work?

the scaper
02-06-2004, 11:37 PM
news flash- the scaper just received the money off his forclosure cleanup. I called the courthouse monday and they said they said -property lien no problem- $5 for the first page and $2per page after that. stoped at the office supply, picked up a lien form, went home and called the agent and told him i hate to but i'm putting a lien on the property, he said hang on let me call you back, calls back and says i'll have your money on friday, well, today is friday and i got my money. LOL! i love it when a plan comes through! i'm not real happy about the three months late part but hey, better late than never :) homer- any luck??

Mikes Lawn Landscape
02-07-2004, 09:08 AM
Homer sorry about your situation hope all works out.

Guys before you file a lien think real hard about it. When a property owner gets a lien on their property from you, especially in the case of a foreclosure or commercial property their response is usually not going to be to cut you a check you have now tied up their system and cutting the check will normally take longer.

Ask yourself have I exhausted all reasonable collection efforts and am I at risk of not being paid. If you answer yes to those two questions then a lien is appropriate.

Hunter in Texas thanks for posting that info but read it very carefully the laws pertain to INSTALLATIONS not maintenance if your just mowing you cant file a Valid lien. If you do an install you can file a lien.

One note most people do not understand lien laws so the threat of a lien may help to get you paid. If they actually understand the lien laws it will probably slow down payment.

In some states in order for you to file a lien you have to tell the client you are filing a lien even before you do the work so learn about the laws in your state a lien can be a powerful tool when used correctly.

Good Luck

02-07-2004, 10:06 AM
I finally got the money. It took a while but after the broker got involved with the REO then things started moving.

Lesson learned. Deal with the people that can make things happen.

Don't deal with paople that can't make things happen.

Be persistent.

Call the REO yourself and quit relying on a real estate agent for your answers.

Have definite payment arrangements worked out in advance.........know who is going to be paying and exactly when they will pay.

Turns out.......after I made the call to the property owners.......that their normal SOP is to let the real estate company pay the bill and they reimburse the real estate company.........my thoughts all along.
The real estate company didn't want to pay the money until they got their money from the REO!

If anyone wants the name of the REO I'll gladly give it to you privately. This all could have been avoided had I done a better job at handling my business......so the advice above is for me as well as anyone else that might get into these foreclosure deals.

02-07-2004, 10:21 AM

I just read this post this morning. I was going to come down there and help you kick the guy's a$$. That is what we do in Gadsden.

02-07-2004, 10:27 AM
Does that work?

the scaper
02-07-2004, 10:40 AM
glad you got your money homer, i'll take all of your above advice next time!

Lawn Dog2001
02-07-2004, 10:51 AM
Some of you may disagree, but any job over $300 I take a half down deposit on. I will turn down any job, at any time without half down. My contracts also specify final payment is to be paid the day of jobs completion.

I have bid commercial jobs, where managers have refused to pay the 1/2 down. Easy solution, hand them the phone book and tell them to call someone else.

This is why I have always hesitated to get to deep into commercial work. It seems like it is always the same thing. Its like they feel they have an open timetable for payment, because "theyre busy".

Im glad you got your money. It burns me up when I see stuff like this. Its like you were saying, if soemone owed them the $950 collection agencies would be hounding them.

02-08-2004, 02:30 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Lawn Dog2001
[B]Some of you may disagree, but any job over $300 I take a half down deposit on. I will turn down any job, at any time without half down. My contracts also specify final payment is to be paid the day of jobs completion.

That's not a bad policy to have but.........most businesses do not work that way. You have to be willing to wait the usual 30 days for payment, and I am and do for most all of my customers. When it's nearing 45 days and they say it's going to be another month then I get ill (souther term for pissed off).

If materials are involved then no........I won't carry that for any length of time, it has to be paid for in advance. Labor I can carry.

02-08-2004, 08:58 AM
I had a house this summer. The owners were always slow payers. In July he was transferred from NH to Ohio, an I figured it would be a warm day in spring before I received any money (they owed $600). The property was being handled by a relocation company who called me in September to cut the now 3'high lawn as they were showing the house in 3 days. I said sure, who is responsible for the invoice and the agent assured me it was he and not the old homeowners. Did the work....invoiced...30 days come and gone. Thanksgiving week rolls around and I call the agent to get paid and he says "Oh that is going to be paid by the buyers agent now" and gave me their number. Well she called me 5 minutes later and said that she would issue the check at the closing which was taking place in about 10 days. Great I replied and asked If she happened to know where the old owners moved to as I was having no luck tracking them down. She said she did not know (as the house was being handled by a relocation co on the sellers end). I said oh thats too bad as I am having a lien placed on the property that afternoon as the sellers owe a considerable amount of money. Well didn't that get things rolling. She then signed a letter of intent to pay off all outstanding debts of the seller at closing and I received a check for all amounts about 5 days after the closing.

Sometimes things work out.

02-08-2004, 01:13 PM
My God - what a nightmare reading all these posts has been. I think there are a couple of lessons to be learned 1)if possible, always deal with the person on top, more vested interest on that persons part, no middlemen, 2)real estate agents are notoriously flaky and don't really give a crap about anything except for making the sale and collecting their commission. I will not work with real estate agents or property managers, period. I'd rather starve from lack of work than stress out over not being paid from work already done and in good faith.