Protecting Your Lien Rights Requires Attention to Detail

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The Washington Court of Appeals has issued a decision that serves as a powerful reminder of the need to adhere strictly to all requirements necessary for perfecting lien rights. In A.W.R. Construction, Inc. d/b/a Comet Roofing v. Washington Department of Labor & Industries, the court ruled that a failure to file a mandatory disclosure report barred a contractor from enforcing its lien.

The case involved Comet, a roofing contractor who did work for the owner of an eight-unit apartment building. After a dispute arose regarding Comet's work, the owner refused to pay the roofer. Comet filed a lien on the property but had failed to provide the owner with a disclosure statement regarding the contractor's bonds, retainage rights and liens as required by the state Contractor Registration Act ("CRA"). The owner filed a complaint with the Washington Department of Labor and Industries. An administrative law judge ruled that Comet violated the CRA when it failed to provide the mandatory disclosure and, therefore, was not entitled to file or maintain its lien. A trial judge affirmed the ruling, and the Washington Court of Appeals upheld both decisions.

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