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Mechanic's liens in Arizona: Why they work

If you're in construction, sooner or later you're bound to encounter someone who doesn't want to pay up after a job is done. A mechanic's lien can come to your rescue.

Mechanic's liens essentially allow you to place a hold on the property. Once properly filed and recorded, the property cannot be refinanced, used to secure a loan, sold or transferred until the lien is paid or otherwise removed.

In many cases, a mechanic's lien is just what it takes to actually get the attention of the property owner when you're being ignored (even if the property owner isn't the one who was supposed to pay you). It also gets the attention of anybody else involved in a project -- or with an interest in the property. Many contracts with contractors, subcontractors, architects and more all include provisions that require them to keep the property free of liens. If you're a subcontractor who has been stiffed by a general contractor, filing that lien can put the general contractor in breach -- which is a huge incentive for him or her to settle up quickly.

You're also giving the parties involved a chance to resolve the issue with your payment before things go any further. Arizona has a requisite 20-day notice requirement. If you've been waiting on payment for a long time and haven't seen any signs of follow-through, that notice puts an enforceable deadline in action. The threat of a lien frequently makes the debt you are owed a sudden priority over the general contractor's (or owner's) other bills.

If you want to properly impose a mechanic's lien on an unpaid construction debt, find out more about your legal options today.

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