After the mechanic’s lien is filed, the case rarely goes straight to court. First, there is a period of time that you and the other party can negotiate. Negotiations can take place between you and the other party, as well as both party’s lawyers. It is always a good idea to have your lawyer present during any negotiations. You shouldn’t agree to anything before your lawyer has a chance to review the agreement and let you know if it is in your best interest.
Oftentimes, when you are involved in litigation, it’s easy to make the other party the bad guy. But sometimes, they might have their own reasons for not paying you. You might sit down and realize that the property owner doesn’t think you fulfilled your end of the contract. If these are issues preventing payment, you might be able to sort them out by getting together.
If negotiation leads to a settlement, that’s great. It will be easier to solve the issue during negotiations than to proceed further with the mechanic’s lien. Unfortunately, not all cases will settle in the negotiation stage. You and the other party might not be able to find a compromise. If the case doesn’t settle or if you don’t hear from the party who got liened, you have one year to continue pursuing compensation and bring a foreclosure of the lien. This means that the property you worked on will be foreclosed against in order to pay for the money that is owed to you.
If it gets to this stage, you have to file with the court a foreclosure action just as you would to foreclose a mortgage. It’s actually pretty rare for a mechanic’s lien to go all the way to a foreclosure action. Generally, this is a tactic that you use because, by statute, you have to bring the foreclosure if you didn’t settle it within a year or you’ll lose your lien rights. Another reason to pursue foreclosure action is to show the property owner that you are serious and you won’t give up easily. If you bring a foreclosure action against the other party, the situation becomes more serious. The other party is going to have to get an attorney and get in court to defend themselves. And then a lot of times when the foreclosure is brought, you will get a settlement. The parties will come together and settle at some point.