A mechanics lien is a legal claim against, or security interest in, your property that, if unpaid, allows a foreclosure action, forcing the sale of your home to satisfy any project debts. The lien claim is led in a county recorder’s or clerk-recorder’s office by an unpaid contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or worker.
The prime contractor has a direct, contractual agreement with the homeowner. If the contractor isn’t paid, he or she can sue on the contract and/or record a mechanics lien. But subcontractors, workers and suppliers don’t have a contract with the homeowner. A problem can occur when the homeowner pays the prime contractor for all or some of the work, but the prime contractor fails to pay the laborers, subcontractors, and materials suppliers that were hired to do portions of the job. If they are not paid, often their only recourse is to file a mechanics lien on the property.