FF 12: Couple forced to pay twice for driveway

Published On: Jan 28 2014 07:37:37 PM CST

Dale Lott couldn’t believe what he received in the mail.

“We were shocked ... we felt we had no choice. Who wants a lien put against them?” asks Lott.

You probably would be shocked, too, if you had to pay for a new driveway twice.

“We paid a little over $1,700 dollars … two times,” says Lott.

The problem happened after the general contractor failed to pay the sub-contractor. 

“Lesson learned. People who have any kind of work make sure the contractor can provide proof that all the bills have been paid,” says Lott.

Sharon Werner with the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Consumer Fraud Division says that's good advice.

“You're stuck ... the best way to avoid this is education stories like you're doing to alert homeowners,” says Werner.

Kansas law allows subcontractors to file liens against homeowners in certain circumstances even if a full payment has been made.  The law is complicated, but protecting yourself doesn’t have to be.

“It doesn't take that long to get a lien release signed. If you don't, you may encounter these kinds of difficulties,” says Werner.

Homeowners should request a list of all subcontractors and suppliers from their contractor.  Before payment is made, ask for lien waivers from the contractor and subcontractors.

“I being the suspicious person would call all those subcontractors to make sure they have been paid in full.”

Advice Lott wishes he learned sooner, but now wants to pass his lesson to you.

“I would want other homeowners to know lien law is complicated. Just protect yourself from the get go,” says Lott.

FactFinder 12 Investigators reached out to the general contractor who installed Lott’s driveway.  He tells us he is making things right with his subcontractor and will refund the money to the Lotts within 45 days.