When you’ve completed work on a construction project, you deserve to get paid. Unfortunately, actually receiving payment in the construction industry can be difficult in the best of times, and clients dragging their feet could put your livelihood in jeopardy. Thankfully, the Louisiana Private Works Act offers a solution to subcontractors, laborers, or other workers who provided materials and supplies to any given project. If you haven’t received payment, the Private Works Act allows you to file a lien against the property itself. If that doesn’t prompt the delinquent party to finally cut you a check, they could potentially lose the property entirely.
Filing a Lien Under the Louisiana Private Works Act
Depending on your specific job, you may not have ever had a contract directly with either the final owner of the building or the general contractor overseeing the project. That can lead to major headaches when your fee isn’t ever paid, since there’s no way to sue someone for breach of contract when no contract ever existed with them.
That’s where the Private Works Act provides a workaround for unpaid laborers who would normally have no other recourse. Thanks to this section of Louisiana state law, you can still potentially recover what you are owed by filing a statutory claim against either of those two main parties. In the event you still don’t receive payment from the primary contractor or the property owner afterward, you have the legal option to enforce the lien and recoup payment from the property’s eventual sale.
Of course, the owner obviously has a vested interest in ensuring their new property isn’t sold out from under them to cover unpaid workers. That’s one reason why it is absolutely crucial to work with an experienced construction litigation attorney during this process, as any misstep in filing can see your lien cancelled by the court. That can effectively end your attempts to recover unpaid costs and leave you with no remaining options.
The best way to avoid that possibility is by ensuring it’s done right the first time with the assistance of a legal professional.
Four Main Requirements When Filing a Lien Under the Private Works Act
- The statement must be filed in writing
- It must be physically signed by the lien claimant
- You must reasonably identify the property in a way that clearly separates it from any other lot, which may require specific details from the title or deed
- A breakdown of the specific amount owed and an itemization of the elements making up that amount must be included
Your initial filing will be heavily scrutinized by the court, and even minor mistakes can derail your entire claim. For example, simply listing the street or mailing address isn’t usually considered a “reasonably sufficient” means to identify the property for the lien.
Depending on the type of property and its exact location, you may need to include legally identifiable markers such as lot numbers, boundary identifiers, and distance from notable monuments. The specific information to include explaining the unpaid amount can also be tricky without a lawyer’s assistance, as providing too few details can see your lien cancelled and the entire claim dismissed.
There is additionally a strict time limit to look out for when filing a lien over non-payment. Recent updates to the Louisiana Private Works Act now clarify that the unpaid party must enforce a claim within one year.
Protect Your Legal Rights by Speaking With a Knowledgeable Private Projects Attorney
Don’t lose out on money you are legally owed due to technicalities or roadblocks thrown up by the general contractor. If you haven’t been paid, talk to an attorney to ensure your lien is filed properly and within the statute of limitations. We want to hear from you and find out the best way to aggressively protect the financial health of your business. Schedule a consultation today by calling 504-500-1111 or by using our online contact portal here.