Washington law protects contractors and subcontractors from non-payment by permitting them to lien real property they have improved. If the subcontractor is properly licensed, gave all required notices, and filed a proper lien against the property, the subcontractor is entitled to file suit to foreclose against the property and owners.
You may have a claim yourself against the contractor or seller who put you in this situation. Also, these situations can often be avoided by purchasing a policy of title insurance when purchasing the home. A policy of title insurance often turns up liens like this, and also may help compensate you if it should have been found by a title search but was not.
Douglas N. Kiger, Attorney at Law
Blado Kiger Bolan, Tacoma, Wash.