Enforcing a Construction Lien: Putting Someone on Notice

HNWReal Estate, Landlord/Tenant, and Zoning

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Construction Lien Law Attorney

When you file a construction lien upon a homeowner or a commercial enterprise for services you have performed but have not been paid, New Jersey statute N.J.S.A. § 2A:44A-14 (a) requires you to go to Superior Court to enforce the construction lien.  Often times, you will go to court not only seeking to enforce the lien, but also looking to prove that the customer breached the contract by failing to pay for services rendered and thereby received an unjust benefit by not paying for these services.  The primary goal of this law is to require the lien holder to act on his or her claim upon the property and recover the value of the services provided.  It requires him or her to show the lien is valid and not just filed without any reason as to why.  The law places a time limit to act to ensure the validity of the lien can be decided as soon as possible.

Normally, the law requires that an action be commenced in Superior Court within 1 year of the last date of work or services.  However, the owner of the property burdened by the lien has the ability to move up the deadline.  If the property owner gives the holder of the lien notice to commence an action to enforce the lien claim, the lien claimant has 30 days from the date of receipt of that letter to commence an action.  Note that the law requires you to receive that notice via service or certified mail, return receipt requested.  So if you are never served with notice, and the property owner starts demanding you reverse the lien since you never went to court within the 30 day period, you can tell them you never received that notice and the 30 day period therefore never commenced, allowing you to still be able to act on the lien as long as you are within that one year overall limit.

To discuss your NJ Construction Lien matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com.  Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.

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