Question: Is exterior painting lienable?

Answer by:  Saphronia Young — syoung@syounglaw.com

Yes, I think so.  Whether or not it is commercial or residential, most paint products are guaranteed to last for a period of years.  I believe that painting is done to protect the structure, and not just for an aesthetic appeal.  Because painting actually protects the structure, I would characterize it as a repair and improvement.  Many types of repairs and improvements must be done repeatedly, but if you look at the installation of certain long-term fixtures, you will find case law analyzing the length of the improvement as relevant.

 

You can contrast it to mowing lawns (not an improvement) which must be done every two weeks, washing windows, janitorial services, and other work that cannot conceivably be considered an improvement.

 

Painting requires special tools and equipment, and the investment in those items can be costly, and in fact is one of the reasons that people choose to hire painters rather than do it themselves.  This is especially true for multi-story homes/buildings, where ladders, scaffolding, etc. are required.

 

Moreover, painters obtain licenses, bonds, insurance.  Per RCW 18.27.010, persons who erect scaffolding as part of their work to “repair [or] improve” realty must be licensed.

This summary is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult an attorney in regard to your particular situation.