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File a lien on clients house?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by travski, Feb 21, 2010.

  1. travski

    travski LawnSite Member
    Posts: 125

    I am currently trying to collect on an outstanding invoice of one of my clients. He owes my $216.00 for 8 mowings. He hasn't paid yet and I've been calling him about 2 times a month for the past 6 months.

    Can I place a lien on his property so that when he sells his home, then I will get paid? has anyone done this? and no I did not have him sign a contract... that would've been nice. however hindsight is 20/20.
  2. MikeKle

    MikeKle LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,253

    Yes, it is called a mechanics lien, you go to the court house to do it, it is fairly easy, and it cost $25 to file it, but do it quickly, I had a situation like yours and I waited around for too long, then when I went to do it, I found out it had been sold a week earlier. and I couldnt really file a lien with the new family that bought it. He owed me $175, and if I wouldve done it a week earlier before he sold the thing, I wouldve gotten paid!!!
  3. John Deere Mann

    John Deere Mann LawnSite Member
    Posts: 92

    Very good information! I think anything past 30 days i think you can start it.
  4. John Deere Mann

    John Deere Mann LawnSite Member
    Posts: 92

    Yes thats right but there is no contract. I don't think its going to hold up.
  5. travski

    travski LawnSite Member
    Posts: 125

    Thanks for your time! I appreciate it... I'm glad to know I'm not the only one that has some lousy clients. Sorry that you were'nt able to collect.

    Thanks again.
  6. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,895

    Did this dude pay for anything at all last season? Or did he just default right out of the gate? If so, then you need to know when to run away from these situations with damage control. I only allow one delinquent bill to go by (or 4 cuts) before I stop service until paid. I probably should be even more stringent than that, but when you bill arrears one month, hard to do.

    If you do have someone who seems shaky, make them pre-pay a month up front from now on....just a thought.
  7. MikeKle

    MikeKle LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,253

    Having a contract doesnt matter here, if they owe for work you did, you can still fine the lien.
  8. John Deere Mann

    John Deere Mann LawnSite Member
    Posts: 92

    I just didn't know for sur. Good info to know.
  9. kaferhaus

    kaferhaus LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,444

    yes you can file a lien easily. BUT it can be challenged and if you cannot prove they owe the money not only will you not collect but in many states there are serious criminal and or civil consequences for filing "nuisance claims".

    A plumber here had no signed work authorization, didn't get paid, filed a lien and several years later when the folks went to sell the house the sale was held up over the lien. Homeowner then promptly sued the plumber over the loss of the sale and said plumber was out not only the money he was owed but several thousand dollars in "damages", court costs and attorney fees.

    It's one of the many reasons we don't bill residential customers (99% here will not sign contracts anyway). On mom and pop commercial accounts we require a contract that gives us "individual guaranty" by the owner(s).... so if they go belly up we can go after them individually.

    Get your money up front or at time of service and these hassles never happen in the first place.
  10. AdamChrap

    AdamChrap LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 937

    File the lien. We had to file one for $2500 last year. Unfortunately it didn't help. The house was foreclosed on and when it went to auction they didn't get enough to pay off the loan let alone us. Here it is a little different. We had to appear in court and get a judgment then file the lien. Our attorney told us that the judgment will stand even since the lien means nothing now. So if he ever buys another house we can attach it to that.

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