New Jersey Construction Liens – What does the Law Say?
New Jersey’s Construction Lien Law (CLL) was initially introduced to provide legal recourse for contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers denied payment for services rendered. Initially, the CLL outlined processes and procedures that needed to be followed in order to file a lien against a property owner in the event said property owner failed to pay a contractor, subcontractor, or supplier for work or supplies commissioned for the completion of a project. Additionally, the CLL also provided property owners with a certain amount of protection to prevent them from paying for work or materials already paid for. Since it’s passage in 1994, however, disagreement over how to interpret and apply certain concepts within the CLL has been at the center of a fair amount of litigation.
Changes to New Jersey’s Construction Lien Law
In January of 2011, Governor Chris Christie approved Assembly Bill 410, introducing a number of changes to New Jersey’s Construction Lien Law. In general, the new legislation introduced the following major changes to New Jersey’s CLL:
- New deadlines and filing requirements for liens: The deadline for filing a residential construction lien was extended to 120 days. When a contractor files a lien in regard to a residential contract, a Notice of Unpaid Balance (NUB) and Right to File Lien must be completed. Additionally, a demand for arbitration must be served and the appropriate steps followed for expediting an arbitration claim under the guidelines of the American Arbitration Association. In the past, all of these preliminary requirements had to be satisfied within 90 days. Now, however, claimants have 120 days. On the other hand, the deadline for filing a NUB was reduced to 60 days.
- The definition of “residential construction contract:” Under the new CLL, additions and improvements to any portion of a residential property is included under the definition of a “residential construction contract.” Practically speaking, this means fewer procedural steps must now be followed when filing a construction lien in cases involving these kinds of projects.
- Arbitration: In general, the new Construction Lien Law has streamlined the arbitration process. This has been accomplished by specifying that the same arbitrator be used in cases where multiple NUBs are involved on the same residential construction project.
Additional Changes to New Jersey’s Construction Lien Law
There are other important changes to the CLL that must be considered in cases involving leased properties, the definition of a “lien claim” and a “lien fund,” community associations and construction liens, and how liens are enforced and discharged. In many instances, the specifics of the case will determine what sorts of legal options under the CLL a contractor or property owner has in enforcing or contesting a construction lien. Here, legal issues can become quite complicated, making it necessary to consult a construction lien attorney who can advise and represent you regarding your rights.
Contact Our Moorestown New Jersey Construction Lien Law Attorneys
If you’re involved in a dispute regarding a residential construction contract, contact construction lien law attorneys at LaVan Law today to schedule an appointment and discuss your case.