Does Contractor's Failure to Be Licensed Precluded Subcontractor from Enforcing Lien Against Homeowner ?
In Matter of Ratner (180 Misc 2d 480 [Sup Ct, NY County 1999]), a general contractor entered into a contract with a homeowner to make renovations to a cooperative apartment.
The general contractor, who was not licensed to make home repairs, subcontracted with a third party for the repairs of windows in the apartment.
The Ratner court held that a contractor's failure to be licensed to do home improvement precluded his subcontractor from enforcing a mechanic's lien against the homeowner for the "window work" done pursuant to the subcontract.
The court noted that since the contractor was not licensed to act as a home improvement contractor, it could not recover from the homeowner for the work done by the subcontractor.
It follows, the court reasoned, that the subcontractor may not maintain a mechanic's lien against the subject premises since the subcontractor was standing in the shoes of the contractor.
See also: Dartmouth Plan v. Valle, 117 Misc 2d 534 [Sup Ct, Kings County 1983] [plaintiff, finance company that purchased a retail installment obligation secured by a mortgage arising out of a home improvement work performed by an unlicensed contractor, may not recover against the homeowner on the home improvement obligation].