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Lien notice received

Lien notice received

Lien notice received

I received a lien notice for my firm, and I'm wondering if I need to worry about it. We are the structural engineering firm for a residential project that required a LOT of steel. The steel provider sent us a lien notice, but we have no interest in the property. We did work for the general contractor, who is not paying the steel supplier. Should I be worried about the steel supplier who threatened a lien coming after my company, or me personally? Or is their only recourse to attach a lien to the property?

RE: Lien notice received

I think the lien applies to the property and simply restricts the property owner from selling the property.
I'm not sure how it might affect a separate designer on that project - if you've already been paid for your fees, then there shouldn't be any ramifications but I'm not an expert in that.
If you haven't been paid, then the lien might be a warning flag to you that the owner may not intend to, or be able to, pay you either.

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RE: Lien notice received

This sounds legal to me. Unless there's a Law-Tips.com, I'd visit one of the nice lawyers that advertise endlessly on teevee smarty
Actually, you need a real lawyer. When we submit proposals, we're required to list any liens against us. And I'm guessing they're not looked at favorably.

RE: Lien notice received

It sounds like it was sent in error. Obviously you don't owe the fabricator anything as a consulting engineer. What a pain to deal with!

RE: Lien notice received

I they are casting as big a net as possible to see what fish turn up.

RE: Lien notice received

I know for liability claims they often cast a wide net, but I have not heard about that happening for payment claims or liens. It seems like a mistake. Its quite shocking how sloppy lawyers can be sometimes.

RE: Lien notice received

It might be a mistake, but I suspect that if they pressure the contractor through their subs as much as possible, they're more likely to get their money. One phone call, no big deal, 15, it gets their attention.

RE: Lien notice received

The lien notice you got is nothing more than a wide net to secure the real property, or collateral. The steel provider does not necessarily know who has a financial stake in the property, so everyone gets a notice. Say if you as the engineer was not paid, you could theoretically also file a lien for your unpaid fees to secure your right to be paid in the event the property is sold. Anyone owed money that went into increasing the value of the property has a right to lien, but you are required to perfect the lien in order to secure the collateral. If you don't, you can't get your money.

As for whether or not you have to disclose, that's a grayer area. Technically, the lien is against the real property, not the professionals providing services. I would be tempted not to mention it for your run-of-the-mill projects. For huge government projects where attorneys are already scrutinizing the contract, I would have them do a once-over.

BTW, this subject is covered quite extensively on the architect's exam. We are required to know this topic in a broad sense.

If you are offended by the things I say, imagine the stuff I hold back.

RE: Lien notice received

casseopeia: great post. But why would a steel fabricator think that the consulting engineer had an ownership stake in the building? Is there any other reason they might file against the structural engineer? That seems unreasonably aggressive to me.

RE: Lien notice received

Agree with Cass's comments. The lien should not have been broadcast like that....that's an easy way for the subcontractor to lose his lien rights because of filing an improper lien. As the structural engineer you have no obligation under the lien...it is to the property owner(s) obligation to discharge the lien or fight it as it is an attachment to the property, not the people.

RE: Lien notice received

To cut a long story short : If the lien document is a hard copy, use the trash bin.
If it is digital, use the recycle bin.

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