Menu
Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>My general contractor has filed a false lien against my house for money above and beyond guaranteed max price and any signed change orders as stated in our contract. How do I get lien removed?

My general contractor has filed a false lien against my house for money above and beyond guaranteed max price and any signed change orders as stated in our contract. How do I get lien removed?

North CarolinaBonding Off LienConstruction ContractLien ReleasesMechanics Lien

My general contractor has filed a false lien against my house for money above and beyond guaranteed max price and any signed change orders as stated in our contract. How do I get lien removed?

1 reply

Jun 24, 2019
I'm sorry to hear about that. Mechanics liens are a great tool for construction businesses for when payment disputes erupt - but they're also abused from time to time.

As you are likely aware, mechanics liens can be claimed for construction work that has been performed but not paid for. But amounts that have been paid, amounts for work not actually performed, and amounts that exceed what's owed may not be included in a claim of lien. When a mechanics lien is filed in excess of what's owed, that lien claim will generally be considered invalid and unenforceable at best, and fraudulent at worst. And, when an improper lien claim is filed, that claimant may ultimately be stuck with paying damages and costs relating to an owner's defense against the filed lien, and in some situations, criminal penalties may even be in play.

Specifically, § 44-A12.1(c) of the North Carolina lien statute provides that: "Any person who causes or attempts to cause a claim of lien on real property or other document to be filed, knowing that the filing is not authorized by statute, or with the intent that the filing is made for an improper purpose such as to hinder, harass, or otherwise wrongfully interfere with any person, shall be guilty of a Class I felony." (emphasis added). With that in mind, it might be helpful to reach out to a lien claimant to inform them that their lien is exaggerated and improper, and that if the lien won't be removed, legal remedies will be sought out. By sending a letter via an attorney demanding the release of a filed lien, and by coupling that demand with legal threats, a property owner may be able to have their contractor release their own lien claim in order to avoid potential liability - and having a claimant release their own lien is far and away the simplest and least expensive option for resolving a lien claim.

If a claimant refuses to release their lien, a claimant can challenge the lien filing via legal action. If an owner files an action in court showing that the lien claim is improper, and if the court agrees, the lien can be discharged from the record by filing a copy of that judgment in the record. It's not necessarily the most efficient option, but it could work to free a property from the grips of a mechanics lien.

Finally, yet another option is to bond off the filed lien. If an owner secures a payment bond and files it with the clerk of court (much like how a mechanics lien is filed), the lien claim will be transferred from the property to the bond, freeing the property from the lien claim. Though, the claimant could still pursue enforcing their claim against the bond. Plus, securing a payment bond for the release of a mechanics lien isn't necessarily a cheap option. But again, if the property must be freed of the lien claim, securing and filing a bond could do the trick. Plus, a court might award attorney fees and/or other costs and fees if the owner is successful in showing a filed lien claim was improper.

Lastly, I think these resources will be valuable:
(1)A Mechanics Lien Was Filed on My Property – What Do I Do Now?
(2) Improper Lien Filed on Your Property? Here’s What to Do
(3) How Do You Remove A Frivolous Mechanics Lien?
(4) North Carolina Mechanics Lien Overview.
0 likes

Add your answer or comment

Not the answer you were looking for? Check out other Bonding Off Lien topics or ask your own question