Contrary to what their name may suggest, mechanic’s liens are generally
used by suppliers and subcontractors. These liens are legal claims against
a property which has been remodeled or otherwise improved, and essentially
allow the supplier or subcontractor to hold the property owner responsible
for the contractor’s failure to pay for labor or materials.
You Can Be Responsible for a Contractor’s Failure to Pay
Mechanic’s liens are allowed based on the rationale that the supplier/subcontractor
has a right to be paid for the items they supplied or work they performed.
As the person who stands to benefit from the work performed, you will
be ultimately responsible for paying the supplier or subcontractor.
Although you do have the right to sue the contractor to recover the money
you were forced to pay, this can take a fairly long time, and it can be
particularly difficult to get money from someone who doesn’t pay
their bills. In the meantime, you will be forced to pay off the supplier
to avoid having your house sold to satisfy the mechanic’s lien.
How You Can Avoid Mechanic’s Liens
1. Use Joint Checks to Ensure Suppliers Get Paid
The easiest way to ensure that suppliers and subcontractors get their money
is to pay the contractor with joint checks. These checks are made out
to both the contractor and the subcontractor/supplier, and require endorsement
from the ultimate beneficiary before they can be deposited or cashed
2. Get a Lien Waiver
Relatively recent law changes have made it much harder to shield yourself
from a lien through the use of a waiver, but it may still be possible
in certain circumstances. For more information about whether or not the
new statutory forms will help you, contact our Plano business attorney today.
3. Pay the Suppliers and Subcontractors Yourself
As a last resort option, you may be able to avoid these mechanic’s
liens by paying the subcontractors and suppliers directly. There are many
complications with this, however, because you may then be viewed as an
employer for the purposes of withholding income tax and Social Security.
If this is an option you are interested in pursuing, it is crucial to
discuss your situation with an attorney first.
For counsel regarding mechanic’s liens, contact our Dallas business
lawyer today at (972) 200-3078.