With the changes of HB 1052 set to go into effect on January 1, 2013, lien claimants in North Carolina must start to get familiar with the new requirements imposed upon them. The first revision to the law that we will look at here details the parties required to be served with a copy of the mechanics lien claim. As the law currently stands today, October 10, 2012, a Claim of Lien on Real Property does not need to be served on any project participant – the only requirement is that the lien be filed in the office of the clerk of superior court in the county in which the property is located. This stands in stark contrast to the requirements applied to a Claim of Lien on Funds, which is not required to filed at all, and instead is required to be sent to the parties “up-the-chain” from the lien claimant.
The changes set forth by HB 1052 as related to the service of a Claim of Lien on Real Property work to, in a sense, combine the old requirements for a Claim of Lien on Real Property with the old requirements for a Claim of Lien on Funds. Starting on January 1, 2013 a lien claimant must not only file the Claim of Lien on Real Property in the office of the clerk of superior court of the county in which the property is located, but must also serve the lien claim on the property owner (and, if the lien claimant is a sub-contractor, on the general contractor, as well).
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This has a dramatic impact because the lien is not perfected until both filing and service occur. Accordingly, if the lien claimant (after January 1, 2013) fails to serve the property owner his lien claim is not perfected – and cannot be enforced. Sufficient methods for service as outlined by the new statute include: personal delivery, USPS, DHL Express, Federal Express, or UPS. Further, it is expressly stated that proof of actual delivery is not required, and that the service is complete when deposited for delivery, (or when personally delivered if that method is chosen).
While this is a big change in that it requires another action in order for a lien to be perfected, the requirement is not too onerous, and the service is complete upon mailing. Check back for more updates on the changing North Carolina lien laws.