How to Avoid Liens During a Home Remodel?

Welcome to the Kazi Law Firm! We are a boutique law firm steeped in Texas tradition personifying the warmth and congeniality consistent with southern hospitality. We believe in preserving integrity and professionalism with true Texan charm, staying true to our roots, while providing essential, affordable legal services to all. Located just north of Dallas, Texas in the rapidly growing suburb of Frisco; the Kazi Law Firm concentrates on contracts drafting and review, immigration law, will & estates, real estate law, landlord, tenant, mediation, and general business law needs.

Have you been watching hours of HGTV and lusting after the trendy, beautiful, jaw dropping before and after photos? Are you interested in a project of your own? Does your older home desperately need a face lift? Well, you’re certainly not alone! Americans across the country are opting for remodeling their existing home and adding trendy touches of designer greatness to their property. What could go wrong? The experts on TV make it as simple as 1, 2, 3 and voila your dream home out of a magazine appears right before your eyes. Well, hold on a minute before you rush out to call contractors. There are occasions where a home renovation project goes awry due to a contractor or vendor’s lien. Let’s talk about liens in more detail and how to avoid them during your next Instagram worthy remodel.

What is a Lien?

A lien is a notice attached to your property informing everyone that you owe the creditor money.

Who Can Put a Lien on Your House?

A lien on property is a common way for contractors to make sure they get paid. Legally, an unpaid contractor, subcontractor or supplier can file a lien (sometimes called a mechanic’s lien) that could eventually force the sale of your home in place of compensation. For example, you may face a property lien if:

  • You refuse to pay your contractor for work done on your remodel, and the contractor files a lien on the house for services rendered.
  • Conversely, if the contractor who worked on your project does not pay for materials, a supplier could place a lien on your property.

How to Avoid a Lien?

  • Make sure you have a list of all the subcontractors, laborers, and material suppliers that your primary contractor will be using, and ask for proof that everyone has been paid before releasing your final payment (otherwise you could be held liable).
  • Before making any partial or final payment to your contractor, ask for a Release of Lien and Affidavit (or Partial Release of Lien and Affidavit). These will either indicate that the contractor has paid all laborers or list out who is still owed money and how much. If you pay the subcontractors or laborers directly, make sure to get a release of lien.
  • Even if your state doesn’t require a written agreement, ask for one. It should be clear and concise and include the who, what, where, when, and cost of your project.
  • Don’t make the final payment or sign an affidavit of final release until you’re satisfied with the work that has been completed.

Remember: Always have an attorney review the contract before you present one or sign one.

What are the Effects of a Lien?

After spending thousands of dollars on your beautiful remodel project, the last thing you need is a lien on your home. A lien will trigger a “cloudy title” on your property. Subsequently, if you want to sell or refinance in the future, you will have to pay off the lien first to clear up the title. Creditors know that putting a lien on your property is a cheap and proven way of collecting the debt they’re owed.

Fortunately, in Texas contractors and subcontractors must notify the property owner before filing a lien, but in several other states, property liens can be filed without any notice to the owner. Don’t get caught up in this mess, when you can easily avoid it. Be diligent with paying contractors and ensuring there are no outstanding amounts owed on services rendered.

I built my law practice on the premise of being a life raft in a sea of sharks. I want to be an advocate for those that have been wronged and are too intimidated to seek help. My firm is here to explore your options, guide you through your legal journey, and give you that safe space to ask questions! There’s no such thing as a stupid question…Only the ones you don’t ask. So, my question to my clients is not “do you have any questions?” But rather “what questions do you have?”

As always, the Kazi Law Firm is standing by to help you in your time of need. Don’t hesitate to contact us today. We specialize in real estate law, landlord-tenant disputes, immigration, and wills & estate planning. Family is at the core of our practice. Just as we treat our family with respect and understanding, we treat yours. Come join the Kazi Law Firm family today!

Why swim alone in shark-infested waters when you don’t need to?