Defense of Payment for Mechanic’s Liens in VA

Does Virginia offer owners a defense of payment for mechanic’s liens?

                When a contractor or subcontractor does not get paid for their labor, they can file a mechanic’s lien on the property to recover the funds. Virginia allows an owner to have a defense of payment against the filing of a mechanic’s lien. Under this defense of payment, the owner is only obligated to pay for the work in full once. Therefore, if a subcontractor has not received payment, but the owner can prove that they made all their payments to the contractor, the subcontractor cannot establish a mechanic’s lien because the work has already been paid for in full. The owner is allowed to keep making payments to the contactor up until receiving a notice of a mechanic’s lien. These payments can prevent recovery under a mechanic’s lien where notice was not timely given. It is imperative that the subcontractor gives notice of a mechanic’s lien to the owner as soon as possible in order to avoid a defense of payment.