Oklahoma State Law Forces Church To Pick Up Added Construction Costs

Tuesday, June 7th 2016, 7:56 pm
By: News On 6

A church in Prue is out thousands of dollars after a lien was placed on it when members tried to get a hail-damaged roof repaired.

It's been more than a year since a storm system dropped hail on Prue. You can't see the damage now, but last March the First Baptist Church needed a new roof.

Deacon Bill Morey said, “It was a good hard hail storm. In fact, we got some of the biggest hail I've seen out here."

The church’s insurance paid to fix the roof, including over $5,400 for materials.

The contractor did the work – Morey said they did a good job - but the supplier claims he never got paid, so now the church has had to pay the money to clear the lien.

"We paid what we owed them and thought we was good. Everything was good. Well, it turned out not to be so good," he said.

Weeks later, Morey said they got a letter in the mail from the supplier the contractor used saying they hadn't been paid for the material, so the church needed to pay.

Oklahoma law says if a contractor doesn't pay, the customer – in this case, the church - can legally be held accountable for it, so the supplier placed a lien on the church.

To remove the lien, the church paid $5,400 for materials and $2,000-plus in legal fees.

"We had money in the building maintenance fund and a little left over from the insurance company that we were gonna use to fix a place for our youth," Morey said. “Then this came up and we had to take that money back from the youth."

Legal experts say, to avoid this problem, consumers should sign a waiver of lien contract with contractors, promising that all supplies have been paid; pay for supplies yourself; or, make the check for supplies out to the contractor and supplier.

The contractor said he paid the supplier and has copies of the checks to prove it. He sent us a copy, but it doesn't appear to cover all the costs.

The supplier insists the contractor didn’t pay and is taking legal action.