North Carolina contractors who provide labor, services or supplies to improve real property are eligible for a “mechanic’s lien”. This includes electricians, plumbers and carpenters — just about anyone hired to work on real property.
So what is a materialman’s or mechanic’s lien?
Well, a lien is a legal claim against real property. A materialman’s lien allows general contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers that provide labor or materials for the improvement of real property to claim an interest in the property they have improved. If the mechanics are not paid they can claim a lien against your property.
What happens if a lien is filed against your property?
This can lead to very serious complications and problems. Once recorded, if the payment dispute is not resolved, it can result in:
- Double payment
- Negative title issues
Establishing or perfecting a mechanic’s lien in North Carolina, requires that a lien must be filed within 120 days of the claimant’s last furnishing of labor or materials. In addition, the lawsuit to enforce the lien must be commenced within 180 days of the claimant’s last furnishing of labor or materials.
A lien can also protect the homeowner
It may seem like a lien is designed to only protect the materialmen, but the owner also receives some built in protections. Because lien law requirements are specific, a mechanic’s lien may become invalid if they fail to follow them as the law requires. There are also limitations on the amount of time that lien filers have to act on the lien and to file a lawsuit to collect the money. If the time elapses without action on the lien filer’s part, you can demand that he or she execute a release of lien, freeing your title. If the lien filer refuses to comply, you can file an action in court to have the lien removed.
How You Can Protect Yourself
A mechanic’s lien waiver and release form gives up lien rights and releases a property owner from liability for nonpayment. If you are able to get contactor and subcontractors to sign this it may avoid unwarranted liens. But even with the waiver a lien may be filed against you. In this case you should contact an experienced construction law attorney that can help you negotiate a resolution or represent your interests against the lien filer.
Experienced construction law attorneys know the mechanic’s lien laws and can assist with recording (or defending against) a mechanic’s lien claim. We are construction law attorneys that can help all all parties to a mechanic’s lien and can give you counsel to help protect your rights. Our attorneys have experience representing owners, general contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers in drafting, recording and litigating mechanic’s liens. We also have experience representing home owners when a lien is filed against them.
We proudly serve the communities of Western North Carolina including Asheville, Hendersonville, Waynesville, Lenoir, Mars Hill, Black Mountain and Brevard.
Last updated 7/5/2015