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Avoiding Construction Liens

The construction business inherently involves a lot of uncertainty and trust. Just to get a job done you have to trust you've hired the right contractor, trust that contractor to hire the right subcontractors, and also trust that those subcontractors are doing satisfactory work. There's simply not enough time to supervise every aspect of the job for yourself. If you've had a construction lien filed against your property, however, you know there is one aspect of the job you should not pass off.

Simply put, construction liens are the result of people not getting paid what they are owed on time. Though avoiding them may seem as simple as making payments when they're due, the trust factor can play an important role if you pass off that responsibility to others.

For example, imagine you've given your contractor a budget to complete construction of a commercial building. Knowing he can't do it by himself, he hires subcontractors to help him complete the job. The job seems to be going smoothly, and you are paying your contractor on time. Now imagine, despite the fact that you've done your part, your contractor is not paying his subcontractors for their work. Those subcontractors demand payment.

The law in Oregon is counterintuitive when it comes to these situations. If you're like me, you immediately thought the contractor should be the one on the hook. You shouldn't be made to pay for the work more than once. In reality, even if you've paid your contractor adequately to cover subcontractors' wages, those subcontractors can file a lien against your property until they are actually paid. 

Having liens on your property can get very serious, very quickly. You should always contact a local construction law attorney to help you determine if the lien on your property is valid, and to make sure the right party is ultimately held accountable.

 

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