Constructions liens are a particularly complicated area of law.
If you’ve done work on somebody’s property or if you’ve supplied materials for a building project and they haven’t paid you, then you may want to consider securing the money you’re owed by putting on a construction lien.
The lien is registered on title to the property. Then if the owner tries to sell the property, any potential purchaser will be alerted to the problem.
Construction liens are very time sensitive. We understand: if you’re the builder or the tradesperson who’s owed the money, you keep hoping you will get paid. You keep hoping you won’t have to retain a lawyer to put on a lien. And there are two very good reasons for that.
First of all, and particularly if there’s still more work to be done or the potential for future contracts, you want to try and maintain your relationship with the property owner. It’s hard to recover trust and cooperation once you’ve “liened in”.
And secondly, there’s no question that the lien process is both costly and cumbersome, with some significant up-front expense and the prospect of multiple hearings in the Superior Court of Justice.
But if a lien is your best remedy and you wait too long, you may lose your opportunity of putting on your lien. Then you could be left as an unsecured creditor potentially holding the bag. No matter how much you want to believe the promises of payment, and even if you have every intention of putting on a lien at the last minute, waiting has to be stressful for you. In addition, if you wait you may not be able to find a lawyer with sufficient experience and expertise in construction law to get it done for you in time. Not every law office offers construction law services.
There are certainly some circumstances in which a construction lien isn’t necessary and would constitute unnecessary expense. There are some circumstances in which (assuming the amount owed is less than $25,000) a much simpler Small Claims Court process would suffice. But don’t assume that because your claim is under $25,000 the Small Claims Court process is appropriate for you in your circumstances. If you need to put on a construction lien, that’s absolutely the route to take.
Your take-away message? Get legal advice early from a lawyer with experience in construction law and construction liens who can weigh your circumstances. Don’t wait.
At Anderson Adams, Mike Adams knows when a construction lien is necessary and when it’s not. He’ll be frank and candid with his advice, looking for the lowest-cost effective option in your circumstances. But if it’s time to lien, then Mike and his staff can be nimble and quick.
Other construction law problems? Mike has litigated (and settled) many building issues, acting for both property owners and for builders. He’s got the experience and the expertise. He’s made the connections with the other experts you may require to prove your case. Himself a well-respected mediator and arbitrator, Mike is also thoroughly experienced with alternate dispute resolution approaches.
Rely upon Anderson Adams to help you nail down your construction lien and construction law concerns. At Anderson Adams we’re right beside you: always looking for the most constructive solutions.
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