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What does the term 'mechanic's lien' mean in construction?

If you are building a new home or improving an existing residence in Florida, you probably make it a priority to pay your construction-related expenses accurately and timely. After all, failure to do so would result in delays and may even result in construction disputes or litigation. As a person who pays your bills on time, you may expect others involved in your project to do so as well.

A mechanic's lien can come into play if your contractors fail to pay their bills. For example, say you have hired a contractor to replace the carpeting in your home. As a part of this arrangement, you pay the contractor for the carpet and the contractor pays the supplier. If the contractor fails to pay the supplier for the materials, the supplier can place a mechanic's lien against your home to recover the owed money.

While this seems unfair to those who pay their expenses on time, suppliers and subcontractors need a remedy for any unfair treatment they may suffer. State construction laws allow mechanic's liens as a way for these harmed parties to be made whole again. Unfortunately, this remedy places the responsibility of paying the subcontractor or supplier with the property owner.

You are not without legal options if you have been slapped with a mechanic's lien. Your first course of action involves consulting with an attorney who can advise you on how to proceed. Construction litigation against the contractor that failed to pay expenses related to your project is one solution. A lawyer can suggest other possible solutions depending on the details of your case.

Source: FindLaw, "Understanding Mechanic's Liens," accessed Aug. 30, 2017

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