what are my rights?
I was hired to do some tile work consisting of shower walls, shower floor, and tile around garden tub. After aproximatley 85% of the job was complete, I was forced to stop to allow another contratcor to do some other-type of work in the room. I was never called back to finish, and I heard from a 3rd party, the owner was not happy with my work. I was never contacted to remedy the supposed problems. I found out another contactor was hired to finish/redo the room. I am still owed $1600.00, can I put a lein on the house?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Re: what are my rights?
In Louisiana, when someone performs construction services upon a piece of property, that person is entitled to lien the property if he or she does not receive payment for the work.
This is the general rule, and according to the general rule the answer to your question is YES, you can put a lien on the property for the $1600 owed to you.
Like any general rule, however, there are exceptions. You must consider whether you fall within one of these exceptions.
Ask yourself this question:
Were you hired by the contractor or by the property owner?
If you were hired by the contractor, or one of the contractor's subcontractors, you can skip all the way to the end of this article because you do likely have the right to lien the project. (see time requirements below).
If you were hired by the owner, ask yourself this:
1) was the cost of the project over $25,000.00. If it was, you are required to file a notice of contract BEFORE work ever began to preserve your lien rights.
2) was the property a residence and did the owner live in the residence at the time you contracted with him? If yes, you are required to provide the owner with a "notice of lien rights" form before work begins.
Regardless of whether hired by the owner or someone else, if you have the right to lien, you must file your lien within the timeframe required by the law.
In Louisiana, this is usually within 60 days of when the work at the property is substantially complete. It can be as little as 30 days depending on circumstances, but a good rule of thumb for smaller projects is that the time period is 60 days.
I wrote an article about pre-lien requirements for our blog, which can be found at:
My firm (www.wolfelaw.com) files construction liens and we focus our practice on construction law. We would be happy to speak with you about your options.
While an attorney might not be right for you (since the debt is only $1600 and hiring an attorney will cost more than this), you might want to consider a service to simply lien the property.
This is less expensive and does not require you to engage an attorney.
This is one in Louisiana:
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