Construction jobs often require extensive hard work and long hours. As a worker, you have a rightful expectation of fair compensation for your dedication and effort. But what happens when a property owner fails to pay what they owe you?
In New Jersey, contractors and subcontractors have the right to file a notice of lien to ensure that the situation above does not happen to them. This legal tool allows them to put a hold on the owner’s property until they receive payment. It gives them the leverage they need to get the payment they deserve. However, it is crucial to ensure that the notice of lien is filed correctly to avoid legal issues.
How to file a construction lien in New Jersey
To file a construction lien in New Jersey, you, the claimant, must file a notice of lien with the county clerk where the property is located. The notice of lien must be in writing and contain certain specific information to be legally sufficient, such as:
- The name and address of the property owner
- A description of the property, including the street address and the county and municipality where the property is located
- The amount claimed, including the amount of the original contract price, any change orders or modifications and any amounts owed for materials or services provided
- The name and address of the contractor or subcontractor filing the lien
- A description of the work performed or materials provided, including the date of the last work performed or materials furnished
- The name of the person or entity that hired the contractor or subcontractor
- A statement indicating that the lien is being filed pursuant to the New Jersey Lien Law
In addition to these requirements, the contractor or subcontractor must sign the notice of lien and serve it on the property owner within ten days of filing it.
What happens if you fail to meet these conditions?
If a notice of lien is not legally adequate, it may be invalid and unenforceable. Some common reasons why a notice of lien may be void include:
- Lack of proper identification of the property owner or the property itself
- Failure to include all required information, such as the amount claimed or the name of the person or entity that hired the contractor or subcontractor
- Incorrect or incomplete information, such as an incorrect address or an incorrect amount claimed
- Failure to sign and verify the notice of lien
- Failure to serve the notice of lien on the property owner within the required timeframe
Note that if you wait longer than nine months to file this lien, you may lose your right to file for it, and your only option may be to sue the property owner for payment.
By ensuring that your notice of lien is legally sufficient, you can help to protect your rights and ensure that you can secure payment for the work you have performed or the materials you have provided. Consider consulting with an attorney if you have any questions or concerns.