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A sub-subcontractor files an intent to lien for work that they did not perform?

South CarolinaNotice of Intent to Lien

I have a subcontractor who filed an intent to lien for an amount that he did not actually perform work for. I do not want to pay him what he says he is owed because he earned nowhere near the amount listed on the document. What is the dispute process for something like this?

1 reply

Sep 26, 2018
I'm sorry to hear about that - it's incredibly frustrating when bad actors manipulate laws to work in ways they aren't intended. First, it's important to understand a Notice of Intent to Lien in order to decide how to react to it. In a few states, a Notice of Intent to Lien is required and serves as an official part of the mechanics lien process. In other states, such as South Carolina, a Notice of Intent is not required, but still serves as a warning or a signal that a lien may soon be filed. So, in terms of disputing a Notice of Intent to Lien, because it is more or less just a warning letter in South Carolina, reaching out to the party who sent it to negotiate and/or dispute the amount in question is usually a good first step. Of course, a Notice of Intent to Lien does indicate that a lien may be imminent, so it could also be a good idea to reach out to a local construction or real estate attorney about the potential claim. Finally, it's also worth considering the possibility that a claimant could be using this as a first-step in a negotiation process, and that could explain coming in with a high figure. When a mechanics lien is filed in excess of what's owed, there are serious potential consequences for a claimant. However, when a non-required Notice of Intent to Lien is sent, it's far less regulated - and there's potentially room for a claimant to come in high in hopes of negotiating. Regardless, a good next-step may be to start discussions with the party who sent the Notice of Intent to Lien in order to resolve the issue before a lien filing occurs or legal action is taken. Finally, this article may also be helpful: I Just Received a Notice of Intent to Lien – What Should I Do Now?
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