A mechanic’s lien provides construction contractors with considerable leverage for unpaid work and materials. It can be really frustrating to buy materials and give quality work without being paid.
Whether you’re a subcontractor or a general contractor, you may have been burned. You incurred the expense to purchase the materials and you paid your guys to get the work done. The property owner is happy with the work, but you haven’t been paid.
You have options available to collect for your work and the expenses of the job. One choice that you have is filing a mechanic’s lien. In Oklahoma, a mechanic’s lien has high priority in terms of who gets paid first.
Mechanic’s liens also send a message that you’re serious about payment. Some contractors are reluctant to file a lien. They worry about not getting future work. This is frequently a concern of subcontractors. The primary or general contractor is a source of future work. So the fear is that filing a mechanic’s lien will harm the relationship.
You have to make your own decision, but here’s a question you may want to think about. “Do you really want more work that you aren’t paid for”? If so, then you may decide not to file the mechanic’s lien.
No One Likes To Work For Free!
Here’s the deal, you can’t afford to work for free. No one can! So, more work from a general contractor who doesn’t pay the bills doesn’t accomplish much. It just wastes more of your time. As a rule, filing a mechanic’s lien is about the fastest way for a subcontractor to get his money!
Can there be circumstances where you don’t want to file a lien? Absolutely! If you have a long relationship with someone who has suddenly experienced a temporary financial bind, then a lien may not be the answer. We aren’t suggesting that you ruin a good connection.
But, if the general contractor has a history of not paying the subs, then it’s a different story. Some general contractors increase the profit for the job by not paying for the work. This is unfair and downright wrong! Some try to pay less than the full amount, keeping back a percentage of what you’re owed. Again, it’s just not right!
General contractors face similar issues when the homeowner or building manager doesn’t pay for the work performed. The GC has cash flow concerns for the materials supplied that were charged to his account and also his subs. Without the money coming in, it’s hard to pay money out!
One easy way to find yourself without subs willing to work for you is not paying! It’s not even your fault! If you are not receiving payment from the property owner, then it’s hurting your own relationships and reputation!
Deadlines To File A Mechanic’s Lien
Mechanic’s liens are complicated in Oklahoma. There are various deadlines depending on several factors. The important thing to remember is all of the deadlines are short! The key is don’t delay taking action.
If you haven’t been paid in 30 days, stop waiting! Take action and get moving on your lien. Do you have longer to file the lien? Maybe – we would have to know the exact circumstances. Our question is, why wait until the last possible minute?
Keep in mind that subcontractors don’t have as much time to file a mechanic’s lien as a general contractor. The legislature set deadlines in the law that require a subcontractor to file the lien earlier.
With certain types of liens, there can be pre-lien notices that are required before the actual lien gets filed. There are several aspects to mechanic liens and no simple solution to knowing all the rules. In fact, we have to go check the statutes from time to time to be sure we have the right deadline.
Using An Attorney To File A Lien
In Oklahoma, you don’t have to use an attorney to file your lien, but it can pay off to use a lawyer. For one thing, the law is tricky and complicated to an extent. Unless you have the time to educate yourself and like to read the Oklahoma statutes, it isn’t as easy as it looks.
An Oklahoma attorney who is familiar with mechanic liens will be able to decipher the statute a whole lot faster and may have some tools that make the process a lot simpler.
Using an attorney also says you mean business. You aren’t just playing around or bluffing about your money! You intend to collect payment in full or put them into bankruptcy. It’s not that you want to be mean-spirited or harsh, but you were made a promise. If you do the work, then you’ll be paid. Your family should not have to pay the price for the broken promise.
If you’re a contractor or a sub who hasn’t been paid, we have helped a number of businesses by using mechanic liens to enforce payment. Nothing says “pay me” like a valid mechanic lien!