Just about every state has what’s called a “mechanics lien law” where even the equipment serves as real property that can be utilized by a contractor for improvement of a structure, and if the owner of such property doesn’t pay for services completed, the lien legally allows the contractor the right to own said equipment upon sale. Yes, you heard correctly. If you have a mechanic, say, working on your car, and you don’t pay him/her, you can look at it this way: that mechanic now owns your car!
That’s a bit of a stretch when it comes to real estate law, though, but you get the picture. In particular, the state of Maine holds one of the strongest mechanics lien laws to date, applying not only to builders, but everyone from the realty side, architecture, land surveys, landscaping and even equipment supplying. Tenants, too, may even have certain rights regarding construction improvements in the sense that they require the owners’ consent and can hire a contractor for such improvements.
Typically, the statute of limitations for such lawsuits regarding a mechanics lien would be a period of 120 days from the last day of work on the project, period. This protects the contractors, for sure, and it holds owners liable for that accountability to ensure everyone gets their due.
Real estate law is, undoubtedly, fair, don’t you think? Congrats to Maine for ensuring that, among other states as well. If you have any other questions, of course, about what you, as an owner, should do – or you, as a contractor, can do – always consult with an attorney. It may be the best decision you’ll make.