If you want the best shot at getting paid – file a lien! Standing alone, a lien is the most effective means to payment. When you file a lien, you “encumber” the property. When you encumber the property, you create a problem for the owner and the general contractor – and that’s what will get you paid. For example, when you file a lien, it now becomes very difficult for the owner to obtain permanent financing, to refinance, or to sell the property. Most likely these are things that the owner wants to do – you have now made that very difficult. Additionally, if you are a subcontractor, by filing a lien you place a strain on the general contractor’s relationship with the owner; especially if the general contractor has already been paid and is wrongfully withholding payment or has used the funds to pay non-project related debts in violation of the Trust Fund Statute.
You might be thinking that “the owner did not hire me” or “the owner did not promise to pay me,” “so do I really have a right to lien the owner’s property?” Yes you do! It does not matter who hired you. If you provided labor or materials to the property, then you are entitled to file a lien against the property, as long as all of the statutory pre-requisites and post-requisites are satisfied. That’s the law!