Mechanic's Lien on Park

Recently one of our residents called our manager to say that their plumbing system was clogged and asked for the park to deal with it.  The manager told the resident that the written park rules state that each resident must present a paid invoice from a plumber showing the home’s lines are cleared before any action by the park.  So, the resident called a plumber who came out, cleared the home’s lines and then proceeded to clear the park’s lines to the main sewer; clearing of the park’s lines was done, apparently, since flow was still slow after the home’s lines were cleared.  Then, the plumber invoiced the park for the entire amount of the work ($650 - two guys, a truck and equipment, and a few hours).  I got the invoice and mailed it back to the plumber with a letter denying responsibility for payment and stating the resident must pay the plumber’s fee.  The plumber called and said the problem was in the main line and thus the park is responsible.  The plumber claims they spoke with our manager who gave authorization, yet the manager says they did speak with the plumber yet no authorization was given.  Questions:  How would we know if the plumber puts a mechanic’s lien on the park?  Do they have to notify us?  If a mechanic’s lien is placed on the park, how to get it removed?  How would you handle this differently?  Should the park pay and then invoice the resident?

I’ve never heard of a ‘tenant must first produce a receipt from a plumber’ rule.  Pretty much every time we’ve had a tenant complain about backup, we’ve had more than one.  Unless the tenant complaining is the most ‘upstream’ tenant on the sewer line, then any/all tenants upstream from them will also have backups, and that proves that the problem is in the main, not in a tenant’s own pipes.  In which case, we of course just go ahead and fix our main.Were there any upstream tenants that had blockage in their lines?In this case you might split the bill with the tenant as it sounds like there was work done on their house as well.  The he-said-she-said conflict between your manager and plumber happens.  Maybe get both your manager and the plumber on a 3-way conference call.Good luck,-jl-

In the future when a tenant calls with a plumbing problem be sure and inform them that if they call a plumber they are to instruct that plumber to only work on the home plumbing. Make sure they know if their plumber works on the park line the park is not prepared to reimburse the home owner. If there is some doubt in this case as to whether authorisation to work on the park lines was given or not you should, as suggested, possibly offer to pay half the cost. Your manager may have inadvertently (or otherwise) authorised the work. It is however doubtful, based on your post, that the blockage was in fact in the park line. (tenant line clogged, cleared and still running slow)You do not want random plumbers doing any work on the park system.  

As a general rule, does anyone else have the “usual” park plumber fix the problem the tenant is complaining about and then bill it back to the tenant?  That seems like the best way to keep the lid on things like this.  I wish our tenants would call us every time they have someone come to work on the underground facilities, even if they don’t ask us to pay for it, because I would want to know (and have the manager supervise) if someone was digging on my property.Brandon@Sandell

P.S.  I too would like to know the answer to the mechanic’s lien question posed by MHP-John.Brandon@Sandell

We have an approved vendor list - plumbing, electric, HVAC, etc.  All have been screened/approved and all know that only we (HQ) can approve any job over $300.-jl-

First postI am a MHP owner, Professional Engineer, HVAC contractor and a Plumbing Contractor. I am not an Attorney but I am familiar with the Florida Mechanic Lien Laws.If Johns park is in Florida I feel confident he would win the disputed claim as long as the park owner/manager  had never signed a contract or agreement with the plumbing company for plumbing work at the park. If the park had no contract with the plumber the then plumber would have had to follow strict  NOTICE TO OWNER requirements as well as many other requirements in the Florida Statutes. http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0713/0713.htmlAlso as a Plumbing Contractor that specialized in drain problems and training the field crews I can say that all the experienced plumbers that I have hired were well aware of where the responsibility of the sewer lines changed. Our plumbers would call the municipality, HOA, or association for approval. Many times they (municipality, HOA, or association) would just have their own crews complete the job. If you think the plumber is scamming you I would threaten legal recourse and attorney fees for damages.If you think you really had a problem with your main sewer make the plumber produce a before and after video at his expense. Also make sure that he understands that he is never authorized to do work on the parks sewer and utilities without signed written approval by park management. Then offer him 25% of his invoice and settle for 50%.