how much can I claim for lien given the unpaid change orders and scope?

7 months ago

My question the homeowner refused to pay for change orders. Paid majority of original contract. Made unreasonable demands in the end when they got into some other financial problems ie. another property sale fell thru.

Can I file for the difference on what they paid and the added scope and change orders i.e. things I did not charge them for or at a discounted price? They okayed the change orders and it was in the contract. The contract was at an estimated amount with caveats and we came in within 10-15% with damages unknown originally.

Reason I ask is if all I can claim is the balance of final payment and not the other charges and impacts I am not going to do it. But if I can claim for all legit unpaid and incurred charges it would be worth it.

Thanks

Mike

Senior Legal Associate Levelset
353 reviews

As long as change orders and additions to the scope of work are executed in a manner consistent with the contract, then those changes become a part of the contract, itself. Meaning, debts owed based on valid change orders are just as recoverable as ordinary amounts under the contract, as long as they’ve been properly authorized.

Note, though, that a claimant might run into trouble if they agreed to perform changes free of charge then decide to bill those changes later on. Mechanics lien claims are generally available for amounts owed but unpaid – and if there isn’t actually any amount owed for the work, then the ability to lien could come into question.

Looking specifically to North Carolina’s mechanics lien statute, § 44-A8 states that a mechanics lien may be filed to “secure payment of all debts owing for labor done or professional design or surveying services or material furnished or equipment rented pursuant to the contract.” So again, if certain work was performed without the expectation of payment, then that work may not be lienable, itself.

For more information on North Carolina mechanics liens, here are some great resources:

– North Carolina Mechanics Lien Guide and FAQs
– How to File a North Carolina Mechanics Lien | Guide + Form Download

Disclaimer: The information presented here is not legal advice and should not be construed as such. Rather, this content is provided for informational purposes. Do not act on this information as if it is advice. Further, this post does not create any attorney-client relationship. If you do need legal advice, seek the help of a local attorney.
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