What Is a Lien? and professional consultants may file liens You have 15 days from the receipt of this A Lien (pronounced "lean") is a financial against your property. order to appeal before the house is hold on your property, giving your creditor Unscrupulous contractors (and other service demolished and the lien is filed against your the right to collect a debt out of the proceeds providers) might try to get you to pay for the property. of the sale of your property. same work twice by filing a lien against your If you receive an Order to Repair and/or property for a debt you have already paid Vacate, contact the Legal Clinic at 504- If the City of New Orleans puts a lien on your them for. 717-7324. property, the City will eventually get the right It is essential to get a lien release or waiver to sell your property without your from each subcontractor and supplier. WHEN TO SETTLE permission, unless you fight the lien. Insist on signed releases before making If the creditor can prove that he or she payments. Never pay by cash. Only use a completed the work as requested, and that WHY CREDITORS USE LIENS check or money order. you did not pay what you promised in writing Creditors use liens, and threats of liens, to to pay, then you should seek legal advice limit your right to sell your property. CITY DEMOLITION AND CLEAN-UP about negotiating a settlement so the creditor Generally, creditors file liens because they LIENS will release the lien claim. expect you to pay your alleged debt to them. The City of New Orleans may file a lien Creditors are anyone who says you owe them against your property to pay for the WHAT TO DO IF A LIEN IS FILED money, including contractors or the City of demolition or clean-up of houses that are AGAINST YOU New Orleans. uninhabitable or public nuisances. If your You have the right to challenge liens on your If there is a lien on your property when you house is not gutted, cleaned and boarded, or property. (La. R.S. 9:484) try to sell it, most purchasers will refuse to have not put yourself on a gutting list or buy your property. If you are able to sell signed a with a contractor by Aug. 29, 2006, If a lien is filed against your property by a your property in spite of the presence of a you risk seizure, demolition, or inspection. contractor, you should consult with an lien, your creditor will collect their debt out The lower 9th Ward is exempt from this attorney. Attorneys may be able to recover of your profit on the sale, leaving you with deadline. (Code of the City of New Orleans Sec. fees from the contractor to pay for this less money than you would have had 26-205 (2)). challenge. (La. R.S. 9:4841(F)) The New otherwise. In order to declare your house uninhabitable Orleans Bar Association Lawyer Referral or a public nuisance, the city must first order Service telephone number is (504) 561-8828 . CONTRACTOR LIENS an inspection of the property. The city can Your contractor may file a lien against your also charge you for inspecting the property If the City of New Orleans demolishes your property. (La. R.S. 9:4801). The contractor or for any repairs/clean-up that they do to house and files a lien against your property, must provide you a NOTICE OF LIEN your house. The city cannot put a lien on you may have as little as two months before RIGHTS for work on your home (La. R.S. your house without doing any demolition or the city can sell your property to collect the 9:4852). work on it. special demolition tax. You have the right to If you did not sign a NOTICE OF LIEN If you are living in your house and do not appeal the debt until the property is sold. RIGHTS, then any lien your contractor allow the inspection to take place, the city Contact the Legal Clinic immediately at 504- files can be challenged. is required to obtain a warrant 717-7324 if you receive an order to repair or before proceeding. vacate, a notice of lien, a notice of tax Other service providers such as After the inspection, you will receive an assessment, a notice of sale, or any other subcontractors, laborers, material suppliers, order to repair and/or vacate the property. legal papers from the city about your property. NOLAC DOCUMENTS TO KEEP 504-529-1000 Learning about To contest liens filed against your property, you should keep as much documentation as Common Ground Legal Helpline (504) 717-7324 Liens on Your possible, such as: -- Legal papers and notices you receive from Property your contractor or from the city -- Your contract, including every revision you have, with the contractor's signature on it Need Access to free Fax, -- Copy of your contractor's license -- Invoices for materials and labor Phone, of Internet? Stop by -- Copies of the checks cashed by the Common Ground's House of contractor or other suppliers -- Receipts signed by the contractor for each Excellence at 1415 Franklin payment Ave. Our community -- Photographs of the property before, during, and after the work computer lab is open 8am- Common Ground Legal -- Copies of every letter or note you send or midnight. House of Excellence give to the contractor 1415 Franklin Ave -- Copies of every waiver or release signed New Orleans, LA 70117 by you and/or your contractor -- Contact information for any witnesses who are present when you negotiate with your contractor Creditors who repaired damage to your -- Your notes Also visit our Free Legal Clinic house from Katrina may say they will put Keep your documents together in a file, and at 1415 Franklin, a lien on your property. This brochure bring them all with you every time you go to contains information about what liens are, your attorney or the Common Ground Legal every Saturday 12-3. and how creditors use liens to get paid for Clinic or other legal advisors. Come Speak with an attorney their work. You can prevent a lien being . about any legal questions you put on your property by appealing lien Additional Resources proceedings or by settling with the may have. contractor (under reasonable Katrina Pr-Bono Hotline: circumstances). You can have liens 1-800-310-7029 removed from your property by going to court. This brochure may help you figure LA Bar Referral and Information Service out if you need to consult an attorney 1-888-503-5747 about a lien.
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