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Subcontractor lien rights are complicated by the lack of an agreement directly between the sub and the property owner. In general, before unpaid subs can place a mechanics lien on the building where they performed their work, there must first be an enforceable contract between the property owner (or his agent) and the prime contractor. When such an agreement does exist, the sub cannot get better rights against the property owner than the prime contractor has. In some states, an unlicensed contractor cannot sue the person who hired him for payment. That means that a subcontractor cannot sue either, even if licensed. (Exceptions 0/JLC • NEW ENGLAND EDITION • JANUARY 1996 JLC • NEW ENGLAND EDITION • JANUARY