In most circumstances, if you have provided labor, materials, equipment, or services to a construction project, and you have not been paid, you are entitled to a lien on the project and the related real property. There are a few types of projects, however, where Colorado law prohibits the filing of a mechanics’ lien.
What about government projects?
Colorado statutes prohibit the filing of a mechanics’ lien on construction projects involving the State of Colorado, Colorado counties and towns, and other state agencies. This prohibition applies to buildings, the construction of roads and bridges, and any other similar projects undertaken by the State of Colorado or any of its political subdivisions. Fortunately, Colorado’s “Public Works Bonding Act” requires any contractor performing work for the State of Colorado to obtain a bond. So, if you have not been paid, you are entitled to make a claim against the bond. You may be required to bring a lawsuit against the bond company or other surety or insurance company that provided the bond. Such a lawsuit must be brought within six months after completion of the entire project for which you are owed money.
The Miller Act, a federal law, provides similar rights and remedies for construction projects undertaken by the federal government. It requires the posting of a “payment bond” against which you can make a claim if you are not paid.
Can you record a lien against a single-family residence?
In 1987, the Colorado legislature created an important exception to the general rule that mechanics’ liens attach to every kind of property. The exception applies to single-family residences. If the owner of a single-family residence has paid the general contractor in full, then no one can record a mechanics’ lien. The residence may be either new or existing, but it must be occupied or intended to be occupied by the owner as a primary residence. With the exception of owner occupied single-family residences and public works, however, Colorado mechanics’ liens may be filed in all types of construction projects.
To learn more about mechanics’ liens, get Bradford Publishing’s helpful booklet “Know Your Mechanic’s Lien Rights: A Guide to Colorado Law,” that will give you an overview of the legal process, and provide guidance and instructions about basic mechanics’ lien forms.