Working as a contractor involves some degree of financial risk. Companies or individuals will often hire you and only pay a fraction of the total cost for a project up front.
You might demand the cost of supplies as a deposit, but that could mean that your labor goes unpaid. You may also develop a standard payment plan that doesn’t take into account how many hours you’ve worked or how much you invested in supplies.
If someone doesn’t pay you or stops making payments as agreed, you could be in a very difficult position. Thankfully, Kentucky law allows you to file a mechanic’s lien against the property to ensure you get paid in full as per the terms of your contract.
How does a mechanics lien work?
If you have a contract relationship with the property owner, you don’t even need to send them notice before you ask the county to record a lien on the property. It’s important to take timely action, as you will only have six months from the date when you provided the work or the materials to record the lien. If you wait longer than that, you lose your right to take action.
A mechanic’s lien becomes part of the title record for the property in question. That means that the owner can’t sell the property until they pay you in full. All you have to do is bring a lien statement to the county clerk to have them register it. You will have to enforce the lien in order to get the courts to take action on your part. If you don’t attempt to enforce the lien within 12 months of filing it, you may lose your rights to do so.
Getting help with filing a lien or enforcing it can give you a better chance of success when an individual or company who hired you doesn’t pay you as promised. An attorney can also ensure you release the lien properly, which is important. Mistakes or delays in that process can cost you up to $500 per days in fees.