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When do you have the right to seek a mechanic’s lien?

Construction is a very competitive industry, and many smaller firms rely on word of mouth to connect with new clients. You likely do everything in your power to make your clients happy with the work that you provide.

From competitive estimates to thorough post-work cleanup practices, there are likely many ways that you try to set yourself apart from the competition. You may also try to be compassionate if someone misses a payment or two after you have already done the work.

However, eventually you will need to take action if you want to compel them to pay for the work you have already done. New Jersey law does allow you to request a mechanic’s lien. When might that be an option?

When you completed the project but did not receive payment

You have a contract with a client or a signed estimate. You have invoices for materials and pay stubs from the workers you hired to complete the project. You may even have before and after pictures to showcase how well you did a three-day bathroom remodel.

Provided that you can also show that the client did not pay the full amount due for the services you provided or the materials you delivered, the New Jersey civil courts may award you a mechanic’s lien.

When you take timely action

Most forms of civil liability have a statute of limitations attached. If the aggrieved party does not make a claim in a timely manner, they may lose their rights. The window of time in which to act after non-payment for services rendered at a home is relatively small.

You have to notify them of the non-payment issue within 60 days of the last day of work at the property and to file the mechanic’s lien request with the courts within 90 days of the last day that you provided services or materials for the project.

The longer you wait to take action, the greater the risk that you will lose the opportunity to place lean on the title for the property and push the owner into finally paying you. Understanding the rules governing mechanic’s liens in New Jersey can help contractors and construction companies that want money for the work they’ve already done.