Construction Law / Liens
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Construction Law / Liens

Allen Stahl + Kilbourne has broad experience representing clients in cases involving construction law. We have been representing general contractors, contractors, owners, architects, and engineers for over 35 years.  When looking for an attorney to represent you in a construction dispute, it is important to find a law firm with experience.  Whether it be filing Mechanic's Liens, suing in court for breach of contract, representing parties in arbitration, or even simply researching a contractor and reviewing a construction contract, Allen Stahl + Kilbourne is here to help clients in all aspects of construction law.



Unfortunately, at some point most contractors will find themselves in a situation where the owner of the property with whom they have contracted fails to pay for the labor or materials that the contractor has provided. The remedy for when this situation occurs is to file a claim of lien.

Claims of lien must be filed with the clerk of superior court in the county where the real property is located. It is always important for contractors to be able to recall when labor or materials were first furnished and when the last date that labor or materials were furnished. In order for a lien to be valid the contractor must file the claim of lien no later than 120 days after the last furnishing of labor or materials. Once your claim of lien is filed you then must perfect the claim by filing a lawsuit to collect the money owed. The lawsuit must be filed within 180 days after the last furnishing of labor or materials. These dates are very important. The claim of lien is invalid if it is not filed and perfected within the aforementioned time periods.

The claim of lien itself must contain specific information in order to be valid.  We can prepare and file your claim of lien in order to ensure all the necessary information is listed.  Once your lien is in place we can then negotiate with the property owner to arrange for payment or, if necessary, file a lawsuit to perfect the lien. However, in order to ensure your lien is valid and enforceable, you must contact us prior to the expiration of the 120-day period mentioned above. Don't wait until it is too late.



Subcontractors have different rights than contractors with regard to claims of lien. In order to file a claim of lien the contractor must have contracted directly with the owner to improve the property. Normally the subcontractor does not have a contract with the owner. However, these lines can be blurred during construction and it is important to discuss every detail of the job with the attorney.

If a subcontractor provides labor or materials to improve certain real property and is not paid by the contractor, the subcontractor must first send notice to the owner of the improved property informing the owner that the subcontractor was not paid. This notice is called a claim of lien upon funds.

Like a claim of lien, the claim of lien upon funds must contain specific information in order to be valid. The difference with the notice of claim of lien upon funds and the claim of lien is that the claim of lien upon funds is not filed with the clerk of superior court. It is sent directly to the owner of the improved property.

Then if the owner of the improved property pays the contractor without paying the subcontractor first, the owner becomes personally liable for the amount of the lien. The law with regard to subcontractor liens is complicated. We can help any subcontractor through the lien process. Our attorneys can explain the process and help ensure that your rights are protected.


Green Construction:

Allen Stahl + Kilbourne has many clients who are "Green Builders" and has been involved in green building issues for many years. Combining our expertise in several areas, we are able to assist clients in a variety of green-related issues, including green building, greenwashing, construction defects, and toxic injuries.

This information is for informational purposes only. Nothing contained herein is to be interpreted as legal advice or a legal opinion. Please contact Allen Stahl + Kilbourne with any questions or to schedule an appointment to discuss your case.