Construction liens follow a general 90-day timeline for filing on any commercial construction project in the state of New Jersey. Contractors and suppliers have only 90 days from the last furnishing of labor, materials or supplies to file a lien against the client. It is not advisable to wait until the end of the 90 days to file a lien, if only because the filing process itself takes time. Even if you deliver the lien to the county clerk’s offices, bureaucratic delay may cause the lien not to be filed for another several weeks or more. Instead, it is best to file non-residential construction liens after 60 to 65 days from the last furnishing of materials have passed. This provides plenty of time to file for non-residential projects, while residential projects require even less time.
Residential Project Requirements
Residential projects may impose additional requirements that you must meet before you file a construction lien. If an arbitration award authorizes your lien, you must file it within 120 days of when you last furnished contract services or materials. Additional requirements apply to all filings of an unpaid balance within 60 days of the last furnishing of service. Favorable arbitration awards that allow the filing of the lien also apply under such circumstances. Once this is accomplished, then you can file the lien itself. To protect your rights within the regulations of the lien, you must file strictly within 120 days of the last service or materials you furnished.
The arbitrator, typically chosen by the American Arbitration Association if no alternative arbitrator is agreed upon by both parties, has a timeline of 30 days to come to a decision about your lien. It is typical to lose several days during the selection process as well as during the forwarding of an AAA award, so you should react within 45 to 50 days of the last furnishing of materials to ensure sufficient time to file a construction lien.
Commercial and Residential Project Differences and Similarities
The definition of the term residential construction has caused some considerable confusion and debate within the topic of construction liens. If you seek to claim a construction lien that involves any improvement made to a single- or two-family home or a large number of units in which individuals and families dwell, you will more than likely have to deal with a residential constructing contract. Relevant authorities also typically consider multi-unit senior housing provided by a commercial company or operator as residential construction. It is advisable to consult with an attorney if the designation of your construction project is at all in question. If there are any doubts, the delay could be advantageous to the other party. This could result in the loss of the unpaid balance owed to you.
The easiest way to settle doubts regarding the nature of your contract is to consult with an attorney who has significant experience in construction law and collections. Filing after enough time has passed to determine the unpaid status of the client but still early enough to meet county clerk deadlines is essential. However, it is only one part of the process of filing a construction lien. An attorney may be able to tell you whether your project falls under residential or commercial regulations. It is common for such regulations to vary significantly from one state to another and even between counties. Therefore, determining the status of your claim with certainty is essential. It will make sure that you do not meet any deadlines or overlook any supporting documentation.
Contact an Attorney for Help With Complicated Construction Liens
Contact Snellings Law LLC today at (973) 265-6100 for more information on filing construction liens.