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New home nightmare: Menomonee Falls homeowners fighting $27,000 lien they didn't know about

Posted at 6:44 PM, Nov 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-21 21:29:19-05

A Menomonee Falls couple finds themselves in a new home nightmare scenario.  Imagine buying your dream home only to learn you're on the hook for $27,000 you didn't know about.

Kayla Lyons and her fiancé bought their dream home two months ago.

"I fell in love with the living room, nice big open space," she said.

It’s a newly renovated one-story house along Main Street in Menomonee Falls. She had no idea those upgrades had never been paid for.

One day, Lyons came home to find a note on her front door from a contractor reading in part, “It is important to get a hold of me, I did not get back for the work I did on this property, we'll have to put a lien on it."
"A lien is a legal thing and it's scary," Lyons said.

The contractor said he put $27,000 worth of work into the house including new flooring, electrical and plumbing.

"There was no paperwork saying ‘hey, if something's not paid it's going to come back on you guys,’" Lyons said.

The contractor claims he tried to get a hold of the original seller multiple times, but he never got his money.  He said he filed a lien a few days ago.
"I understand where he's coming from, he wants to get paid," Lyons said.
Andrea Murdock is a real estate attorney in Glendale who says a buyer can be held liable in these situations.

"They should ask the seller whether they had any repair work done, any remodeling done, get copies of any contracts, any lien waivers and any receipts for payments made," said Murdock.
TODAY’S TMJ4 tried to get a hold of the seller whose company goes by S.A. Investments LLC.  An address listed for the company belonged to their accountant.
When asked who is responsible for paying for it, he responded, “I guess SA Investments, but I'm just their accountant."

After our news crew left, the company's owner followed them back to a parking lot. She told TODAY’S TMJ4 the contractor never worked on the house.
Lyons and her fiancé said they've learned an important lesson.
"Just read up, read up on who you're buying from and who you're working with," Lyons said

Lyons said they contacted their title insurer only to find out construction liens are not included in their coverage. Murdock said the couple's only recourse may be going after S.A. Investments for alleged breach of contract or misrepresentation.