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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>if we were to go with small claims instead of foreclosure, can the judge place a lien/judgement on the property owner?

if we were to go with small claims instead of foreclosure, can the judge place a lien/judgement on the property owner?

New JerseyLawsuitLien ForeclosureMechanics LienPayment Disputes

placed a construction lien, received a demand to enforce foreclosure.

1 reply

Apr 16, 2018
Small claims courts, as you apparently have determined, are not appropriate for the enforcement of mechanics liens through the foreclosure of the property against which they are claimed. However, the dispute giving rise to the mechanics lien in the first place could potentially be appropriate for small claims court (depending, of course, on the amount of the dispute).

If small claims court is chosen as the remedy for the dispute, that remedy is completely divorced form the mechanics lien remedy - i.e. if a judgment was rendered in your favor in small claims court, it is not related to the mechanics lien and the property could not be foreclosed upon through the mechanics lien with respect to the small claims judgment.

Some states allow for a property owner to demand that an enforcement/foreclosure action be initiated within a certain time frame if a lien is filed - and if the action is not initiated within the specified time, the lien becomes invalid and unenforceable. Initiating a call claims suit would not meet the requirements for the enforcement of the mechanics lien pursuant to a demand to enforce.

However, small claims is still a legal process and absent the mechanics lien itself, can still provide a legal remedy. A judgment related to the underlying dispute can be rendered and enforced through a small claims process - and if the defendant did not pay a "judgment lien" could likely be obtained against some of his/her assets.
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