There was a time when construction companies once having taken a project will complete the entire project on their own. They will not like the involvement of any other party in the work. However, the dynamics have changed completely. Now big construction companies only take up projects and let it to other construction companies who further sub-let it to small construction companies or contractors. So one big project is worked by many different companies and the main company who initially took the work has to ensure that all the parties involved in this work are paid in full because if either of the party is not paid then it can have serious repercussion on the project.
The parties who are unpaid can place a lien on the project which means that only when they are paid first that the owner of the project will be able to sell anything to anybody. It also means that the parties who are unpaid and have placed a lien are in a way the actual holders of the property. However, once they are paid in full they will withdraw their lien and then it becomes lien free. As a lien on a project can have serious impact on the project owner in the same fashion if someone has wrongfully placed a lien to harass the project owner, it can again have serious impact on the person for taking incorrect advantage of the lien. Contractors and sub-contractors are allowed to place lien so that they can safeguard their interest if they are not paid by the project owner. But this should not be in any way misused or else the entire purpose of having a mechanism like this goes for a toss.
The law in the United States is strict enough to weed out any menace like this. People who take place wrong liens are punished once they are proven guilty. However, an equal opportunity is given to both the project owner and the contractor to prove their point and if it is found that the project giver has paid in full but it was because of some kind of confusion the contractor did not receive the money and placed a lien, then the court tries to clear out the confusion and at times also gives the contractor a warning to check things first before placing a lien.
Ideally, a lien is supposed to be placed after a series of discussion between the project owner and the contractor and nothing has come out of it. One can’t just go and place a lien when things can be solved via discussion. Placing a lien should be the last option. Therefore, it is suggested that the contractor gives ample of time to the project owner to pay him for his work. If he places a lien without giving sufficient time, it may back-fire him. By no means should the contractor do anything that will place him into problems. If proven guilty he may end up paying good chunk of money as penalty and may also have to be behind bars for few months.
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