Omaha homeowners voice concerns of lien filed by unlicensed contractor

WOWT 6 News Live at 10
Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 11:48 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - If you’re selling a house or refinancing the mortgage, a mechanic’s lien can throw a wrench into your plans. But surprisingly in Nebraska, filing one doesn’t require that other laws must be followed.

A payment dispute has raised questions about what’s not required for a contractor filing a mechanics liens.

“He didn’t pull any permits and he wasn’t licensed, you’re concerned if he did it right,” said Corey Quortoroli.

Corey Quortoroli and fiance Emily Bassett needed the basement bathroom remodeled and Corey hired a contractor.

“He made the drain go longer and moved the toilet from this area over here,” said Bassett.

A lot more work was listed in a lien like relocate plumbing and install recessed lighting.

“I figured he was a contractor doing other jobs in other places, so I figured he had his license to do so,” said Quortoroli.

The chief building inspector says the contractor isn’t a licensed contractor in Omaha and there’s no record of required permits for work listed in the lien.

“Compared to other states, you do not have to be a licensed contractor in Nebraska to file a lien. In many other states, you do,” said real estate lawyer, Jim Riha.

Bassett says that the sign should actually read as sold because the potential buyer backed out in part because of that lien. The relator confirms that the sale fell through and the lien may be a contributing factor.

“We already have a new house. We want it to be done because our time, we’re going elsewhere here soon and it’s put a hinder in us trying the sell the house. The lien has,” said Bassett.

The veteran real estate attorney says a homeowner can tell a contractor ‘see you in court’.

“A demand to institute judicial proceedings. If that 30-days goes by and they haven’t filed the foreclosure, then their lien is unenforceable,” said Riha.

Corey and Emily say they’re hiring an attorney and will lean on him for advice in handling the mechanic’s lien.

The contractor hasn’t been cited so we won’t name him. But he says that he’ll contact Omaha Permits and Inspections to straighten out the license issue and lack of permits.

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