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Basics of mechanic’s liens in construction projects

Posted on December 20, 2018

As people are aware, there are many construction projects occurring in Missouri at any given time. Some are major construction projects of business offices, apartment buildings or condominiums, stadiums and other large projects. However, there are also smaller projects such as building a home or other real estate projects. These can be expensive projects though and it is important for both the contractors to be paid and for the work to be done correctly.

However, the projects can become more complicated when a general contractor uses subcontractors to complete certain aspects of the project. Generally the subcontractors are paid by the general contractor and not directly by the owner of the property. So, owners need to trust that the contractor is paying the subcontractors. However, if the general contractor does not pay the subcontractor, that company can place a mechanic’s lien on the property for the amount owed to them. This means that the owner essentially becomes responsible for paying the fees in addition to what they paid the contractor.

If a mechanic’s lien is placed on the property, then the only recourse for the owner is to sue the general contractor for the amount owed so the lien can be removed. So, it is important that property owners ensure that lien waivers are signed by the subcontractors. These essentially state that the subcontractors cannot put mechanic’s liens on the property for the amounts they already have been paid for their work. It can become a very difficult task if property owners end up in disputes over mechanic’s liens.

There are many property owners in Missouri who want improvements made to their homes or to construct new homes completely. These projects often times require general contractors and subcontractors to do various parts of the overall project. These subcontractors have a right to be paid for their work and therefore can place mechanic’s liens on the property if the general contractor does not pay them. This can create a very difficult situation for the homeowner and experienced attorneys may be able to guide one through the process.