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How may a mechanic's lien affect my Arizona home?


Arizona homeowners may have heard the term lien, but they may not be clear on exactly what such a lien might entail with regards to their home. The two terms mechanic's lien and materialmen's lien are often used interchangeably. The name mechanic's lien is somewhat misleading, as these claims are often used by subcontractors and other construction suppliers, not actually mechanics.

These liens are legal claims that are typically placed by subcontractors or suppliers who have not been paid by a general contractor for their work performed or supplies provided. The lien is held against the home as the subcontractor or supplier tries to recover the money owed him or her.

Unfortunately for homeowners, even if a homeowner has paid a general contractor, if the general contractor has not paid the subcontractor or supplier, there can still be a lien placed against the house. A homeowner may have to double pay if she wants the house to be free of liens, which is essential if a homeowner desires to sell the property. If a homeowner ends up paying a subcontractor or material supplier for work or materials for which she has already paid a general contractor, it may be possible to pursue a lawsuit against the general contractor.

Ideally, a homeowner can avoid a mechanic's lien developing in the first place. Paying with joint checks made out to the general and subcontractor, or paying the subcontractor directly, may prevent a homeowner from having to deal with the potentially messy situation of a mechanic's lien.

Sometimes, however, despite precautions, a homeowner may find herself facing a mechanic's lien on her property. A homeowner may wish to seek out attorney guidance to help determine how best to proceed if she determines that there is a mechanic's lien against her property.

Source: FindLaw, "Understanding Mechanic's Liens," accessed Nov. 20, 2015

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