How can I collect monies owed for work I did on stepson's property?
The answer will depend on whether or not your work on the property was done as a contractor or not. If your stepson is the owner of the property and your work benefited his property, you may be able to create a lien on the property for the value of the labor and materials.
Pursuant to Ohio statutes, a contractor, subcontractor, or materialman who has provided labor or materials to a construction project may file a lien against the property for the value of the labor performed or materials supplied by filing a Affidavit of Mechanic's Lien. A lien may not be obtained against property when the party claiming the lien has been paid in full before the property owner has received a copy of the lien claimant's Affidavit of Mechanic's Lien. O.R.C. 1311.01(B).
An Affidavit for a Mechanic's Lien must be filed within sixty days from the last day of work performed by the party claiming the lien, if the project is a one or two family residential dwelling. Otherwise, the lien claimant has seventy-five (75) days to file for a lien. An exception is liens involving oil and gas leases, which may be filed within one hundred and twenty (120) days. O.R.C.1311.06(B).
Typically, the Affidavit would require the contractor to state details of his contract with the property owner.
If a lien is not filed within the designated time frame, any lien actually placed on the property would be unenforceable. In many cases, a property owner may file an affidavit on the land records which states under oath that payment has been made to the contractor in full.
One way for an owner to protect against liens in to file an affidavit of completion. This will start the clock running on the timeline for liens to be filed. An owner may file with the county clerk of the county in which the property is located an affidavit of completion. The affidavit must contain:
(1) the name and address of the owner;
(2) the name and address of the original contractor;
(3) a description, legally sufficient for identification, of the real property on which the improvements are located;
(4) a description of the improvements furnished under the original contract;
(5) a statement that the improvements under the original contract have been completed and the date of completion; and
(6) a conspicuous statement that a claimant may not have a lien on retained funds unless the claimant files the affidavit claiming a lien not later than the 30th day after the date of completion.
It is recommended to have the terms of the contract in writing to avoid future disputes. A lien waiver may also be requested as a condition of partial or full payment. A lien waiver protects against mechanics' liens being filed against the property.
A lien is a claim to property for the payment of a debt, typically one connected to the property. It is the right to retain the lawful possession of the property of another until the owner fulfills a legal duty to the person holding the property, such as the payment of lawful charges for work done on the property. The right of lien generally arises by operation of law, but in some cases it is created by express contract. There are two kinds of liens; particular and general. When a person claims a right to retain property, due to money or labor invested in that property, it is a particular lien.
Liens may arise by express contract; from implied contract, as from general or particular usage of trade; or by legal relation between the parties, such as created with common carriers and inn keepers. To create a valid lien, it is essential that the party claiming a lien should have the absolute property or ownership of the thing or, at least, a right to vest it; that the party claiming the lien should have an actual or constructive, possession, with the assent of the party against whom the claim is made; that the lien should arise upon an agreement, express or implied and not be for a limited or specific purpose that contradicts the express terms or the clear, intent of the contract. In certain circumstances, the lien holder may foreclose on the property if the debt is not paid in full. Liens can generally be removed by the payment of the amount owed. This payment can occur at any time up to and including the stage at which the closing documents for the sale of the property are signed.