By Greg Price
A lien is a legal claim of one person upon the property of another person to secure the payment of a debt or the satisfaction of an obligation.
Just this past month, Mary Fehr has been involved with two liens and has been on both sides of the equation.
“I just finished getting paid out on a lien from someone that I had to put against their house for a restitution order. Last week I received the check and it’s in my purse,” said Fehr in a Friday morning interview with The Times, in a case of a $40,000 theft which the person eventually declared bankruptcy to pay the lien. “I found the lien process very scary getting it resolved. She wasn’t making the court-ordered payments for restitution.”
Fehr would once again be introduced to that fright, as she has one of 82 properties that were issued Registration of Builder’s Liens as part of the fallout of a financial dispute between a contractor (Drew Communications) and subcontractor (Dragster Directional Drilling) involved in a $9.2 million dollar investment by Telus that was announced in March to roll out a fibre optic network for the community, in which each resident was assured there would be no cost accrued to them in the installation. Taber was selected as part of a Telus pilot project which would see 90 per cent of Taber homes and businesses be eligible for the upgrade, giving residents access to the fastest internet speeds Telus offers (currently as high as 100 Mbps). If the liens were to be paid out, the value is estimated at $14 million.
Fehr was made aware of the $170,000 lien on her property late last week.
“Our houses are being held hostage in this dispute. Big businesses can do that. I talked to my neighbour (Thursday) night and they are in the same boat,” said Fehr. “This has nothing to do with us and yet the potential is there for someone to do that to you (frivolously put on a lien). That is the part I don’t get and I find scary. I never thought this was possible, I thought you would have to prove that there was actual default on some sort of payment, that I defaulted on a $170,000 payment to put a lien on my property. How else could they put a lien on my property? But they did.”
Fehr confirmed she got a personal visit from Telus on Thursday morning at her property on 52nd Avenue and 46th Street, apologizing for the lien incident and assuring Fehr that the lien would be removed by Friday or early this week.
“He said most of the houses on 52nd and 53rd Avenue, every other house had gotten liens,” said Fehr. “He said their lawyers were dealing with it. I know how well lawyers deal with it. I dealt with (my lien) and it took a year-and-a-half.”
Fehr added the Telus representative assured her that as soon as they get confirmation, they will hand deliver each affected property owner a copy of their clear title with no liens attached.
Fehr called the Times on Monday morning confirming she did get her confirmation from Telus that her property has been cleared of its lien. Nevertheless, it’s a process she never wants to go through again given the circumstances.
“I had no doubt Telus was going to be able to clear this. But to be involved this easily with a lien with a dispute that has nothing to do with you, it’s scary to think someone can do that,” said Fehr.