If you are a general contractor or a subcontractor who is having trouble getting paid for the work you have performed or the supplies you have provided for a construction project, a construction lien, also known as a mechanic’s lien, is a good tool for you to use. The law in New Jersey has very strict requirements for how you go about getting such a lien, however. If you do not file the correct forms, obtain service of process correctly or file for one beyond the allowed time frame, you may permanently lose your ability to place a lien against the property.
What Construction Liens Do
A mechanic’s lien is a lien that a subcontractor or contractor can file against a property owner’s property when they have not been paid for their work or supplies. With a mechanic’s lien, the contractor or subcontractor may force the property owner to sell the property in order to receive the payment owed to them. In most cases, a property owner will pay the lien amount in order to avoid a forced sale. A lien may also make it more difficult for them to be able to sell the property in the future without first paying their owed balance.
Process for Construction Liens in New Jersey
Like all other states, New Jersey has a specific process contractors and subcontractors must follow in order to obtain enforceable construction liens. The New Jersey process is outlined at NJ Rev Stat § 2A:44A-6. They must first use the statutory lien claim form as described by § 2A:44A-8. This form must be completed in its entirety and subscribed to under oath. It must include the contractor’s identifying information, the work performed, the amount called for in the contract and the amount owed by the owner. It will also not be enforceable if it is not filed in the manner outlined under the law. After filing, the property owner must be properly served by process or the lien will not be enforced.
Statutory Deadlines for Filing Construction Liens
There are different deadlines in New Jersey for when a lien notice must be filed for commercial and residential construction projects. Commercial projects require that the lien be filed within 90 days. Residential liens have more stringent requirements. Contractors or subcontractors must first file a notice of unpaid balance within 60 days. The lien itself must be filed within 120 days of the work’s completion or the date the supplies were provided or else it will not be enforceable. Lien law frequently changes. One important thing for you to understand is the deadlines are very strict. If you have not been paid for your work or supplies, it is important for you to act quickly so you do not lose your enforcement rights.
Contact a Construction Lien Attorney
To speak with a construction lien attorney at Snellings Law LLC, call (973) 265-6100.