I have a job that I started on 10/1/18. we went back for punch list items on 11/19/18. Would it be okay to send out an intent to lien at this time? will I be able to back it up if need be?
Dec 11, 2018
That's a good question. First, it's worth noting that a Notice of Intent to Lien is not actually a required notice in North Carolina. Granted - there are plenty of vernacular issues when it comes to naming and identifying notices, so in a second, I'll discuss those notices in further detail. But, as far as a Notice of Intent to Lien goes, that specific notice can be sent whenever a claimant wishes. More on the Notice of Intent to Lien here: What Is a Notice of Intent to Lien and Should You Send One? Now, let's look at North Carolina-specific notices. In North Carolina, a Notice to Lien Agent is required at the start of the project - and it must be sent within 15 days from the claimant's first furnishing of labor and materials. Thus, sending out a Notice to Lien Agent late in the game will very likely be ineffective. North Carolina is also home to a "Notice of Claim of Lien Upon Funds" - and this notice can act relatively similarly to a Notice of Intent to Lien. A Notice of Claim of Lien Upon Funds doesn't have a hard deadline, and it can really be sent at any time. Of course, the earlier it is sent, the better. If a claimant wants to re-send a Notice of Claim of Lien Upon Funds after already sending one - that could likely be accomplished. Of course, note that its effectiveness is not as strong when sent late - a Notice of Claim of Lien Upon funds works to freeze funds between an owner and a contractor, so if sent late, there may be less funds available to "freeze". Finally, if you're referring to a Notice of Subcontract - such a notice does not have a hard due date either. It can be sent at any time, but it will only be effective as of the date sent. So, sending late notice could help protect the claimant - but it will only help protect that claimant from the date notice is made. zlien discusses all of these notices in the following resources: North Carolina Preliminary Notice: Everything You Need to Know and North Carolina Lien and Notice FAQs. Finally, as a general note - punch list or warranty work will typically not work to extend the timeframe for sending a notice or filing a lien. Thus, it's often a good idea to play it safe and assume that substantial completion of the work/the last day that substantial work was performed - rather than when punch list or warranty work is performed - will be the applicable date from which a deadline will run.