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Mechanic’s Liens

Mechanic’s liens are a crucial part of construction and real estate law for both (1) the contractors entitled to claim them and (2) the owners who must defend against them. The attorneys at Griffiths Law have experience representing a variety of clients, including owners and contractors involved in mechanic’s lien disputes concerning residential and commercial construction.

For contractors seeking to be paid for their work, mechanic’s liens are a powerful tool to recover payment from owners who either refuse to pay or make excuses for not having to pay. If the owner does not pay the contractor, Colorado’s mechanic’s lien statute permits a contractor to record a lien against the owner’s property and then foreclose on the property to satisfy the amount owed. The law also provides for statutory interest at 12 percent. Statutory interest enables a contractor to be paid for having to wait months or even years to be paid. 

In a lawsuit, general contractors may claim both a mechanic’s lien and breach of contract for the work they performed. For subcontractors, who often not have a contract with the owner, the mechanic’s lien remedy is likely their only remedy and subcontractors must pay very careful attention to the statutory deadlines. 

To learn much more about the mechanic’s lien process, look at our comprehensive guide to mechanic’s liens.

There are many pitfalls for contractors concerning mechanic’s liens. These include stringent time requirements (e.g., four months to record the lien). These requirements punish a contractor for recording an overstated or “excessive lien.” If you are a contractor facing a situation where the owner is not paying you, you need to retain legal counsel immediately because the mechanic’s lien deadlines are very short and if you fail to comply, you could lose your rights entirely. For property owners, understanding the mechanic’s lien process is also important. Owners need to understand how and when a contractor can record a mechanic’s lien on their property. Owners can fight back against contractors who use the threat of a mechanic’s lien to assert undue influence over unsuspecting owners. Owners should also understand how to respond to contractors who file excessive mechanics liens or fail to follow the statutory deadlines.

If you were an owner of a project and the contractor is not performing their work adequately, or is working slowly, you may need to consider hiring legal counsel to deal with the substandard work and handle any mechanics lien claims. This is because, in most of these situations, each side will file lawsuits (or claims) against one another. The owner will often argue that the contractor performed substandard work or did not complete their work and are therefore owed less money. In return, the contractor will file a claim under the mechanic’s lien statute for nonpayment, arguing that their work was satisfactory and that the owner simply doesn’t or refuses to pay for it.

Either way, and whether you’re an owner or a contractor, our firm can assist you with lien statements, notices of intent to lien, and foreclosure issues. Our team of attorneys has represented subcontractors, general contractors, and property owners regarding many aspects of mechanics lien actions on both residential and commercial projects.

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