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Mechanics Lien recorded in North Carolina. Should I proceed to Suit to Enforce Lien or is that throwing good money after bad?

North CarolinaLien Foreclosure

Customer pretty belligerent. Has not responded to demand payment in registered letter. He seems to be a serial abuser of contractors. Never wanted to call former contractors to "fix" problems. Always tried to get our company to fix things "in addition to" originally requested scope of work. It got to be a series of verbal change orders that he resisted paying. When we complained about deteriorating communications, offered to wrap up current work and terminate the relationship, the customer immediately got vindictive.

1 reply

Sep 4, 2018
I'm really sorry to hear that, and I'm sure this is especially frustrating because it sounds like you took good steps toward keeping this project on track. First, it's worth noting that sending a Notice of Intent to Foreclose can help compel payment. It's not all that different from an ordinary demand letter, but the Notice of Intent to Foreclose makes it abundantly clear that if payment isn't received, a lien enforcement action will be filed and the eventual foreclosure of the property is on the table. To put the most pressure on a nonpaying customer, it's often a good idea to send a Notice of Intent to Foreclose to the customer, to any higher-tiered parties, and to the property owner. Making the dispute as visible as possible to higher-tiered parties can go a long way. But, if all else fails, it can be a tough call for a claimant to decide whether to enforce their claim. On one hand, this is a very powerful move to compel payment. After all - the underlying property could be sold. On the other hand, a lien enforcement action is a lawsuit, and lawsuits can be both risky and expensive. Considering a lien enforcement action would (very likely) require an attorney, consulting a local construction or real estate attorney could go a long way here. They can take a look at all of the relevant documentation, communications, and other information and help assess the strength of your claim. They will be able to help decide whether the claim is worth pursuing. Many law firms offer free or reduced-rate first consultations, so the fear of throwing good money after bad can be alleviated somewhat. Plus there's a chance you could find an attorney willing to accept a contingency fee arrangement on the matter which would really reduce the up front costs.
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