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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>I received a letter in the mail regarding my lien order#1023614. We're being paid, and the lien is in the process of being lifted. However, are you able to explain the meaning of the letter? If I made an error in filing, I want to make sure I don't make the same mistake again.

I received a letter in the mail regarding my lien order#1023614. We're being paid, and the lien is in the process of being lifted. However, are you able to explain the meaning of the letter? If I made an error in filing, I want to make sure I don't make the same mistake again.

New JerseyMechanics Lien

I just followed the instructions on the webiste. The letter from the attorney reads: The lien was improperly filed against the Landlord's real property. Pursuant to NJSA 2A:44a-3, if a tenant contracts for improvements on the premises then the lien can only attach to the leasehold interest of the tenant unless once of the exceptions is satisfied. I can send a copy of the letter if you'd like.

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Mar 7, 2018
First, I'll add that it's not uncommon for a property owner to challenge a filed mechanics lien as a matter of reflex - regardless of the validity of their arguments. We explore that idea in this article: My Lien Was Challenged - What Do I Do?. Anyway, in New Jersey, when a tenant is the party contracting for or authorizing an improvement, mechanics lien rights will attach only to that tenant's interest. If the work was contracted for by the property owner, the property owner's interest will be subject to lien. Of course, whether the party who contracted for the work is an owner or merely a tenant won't always be obvious. Plus, it doesn't appear that the New Jersey lien statute requires notice that a contracting party is a tenant rather than an owner - making this a tough situation for a lienor. Ultimately, deciding which interest to file a lien against can be a tough call if the ownership/tenant situation isn't obvious. In such a situation, filing a lien against an owner's interest will likely create the most pressure on the owner and/or tenant to make payment. Penalties could come into play, though, if a claim is frivolous, false, unsupported by a contract, or made with malice or bad faith or for any improper purpose. However, upon such a threat a claimant could certainly release their lien claim and pursue some other avenue of recovery. Take a look at this article for more on the subject: Intentionally Fraudulent vs. Honest Mistakes.
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