Lien Law and COVID-19
As of March 24, 2020, North Carolina has reported at least 498 confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). As a result, Governor Roy Cooper issued an executive order mandating the closure of public K-12 schools for at least two weeks and banned mass gatherings of more than 100 people. Already, we have witnessed a major financial impact on the American economy, including the construction industry.
Therefore, it is imperative that you understand the resources available to you to protect your rights to payment for the labor and materials you provided for a private construction project. In this brief article, a Charlotte mechanic’s lien attorney addresses the necessity of lien law in the wake of COVID-19 and what you can do to secure your right to payment.
No Tolled Deadlines
The Chief Justice’s order, made effective on March 16, mandated that all superior and district court proceedings be postponed for at least 30 days, with some exceptions. Additionally, the courts were encouraged to grant additional accommodations to any parties with business before the courts who may be at high risk for COVID-19.
However, as of March 24, the North Carolina Supreme Court has yet to toll any of the deadlines associated with pursuing lien rights, such as the deadline for providing written notice of your claim or the deadline for commencing a legal action in enforcement of a lien. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to remain vigilant of these deadlines in the protection of your payment rights.
Domino Effect on the Construction Chain
Your lien rights are particularly relevant in the time of COVID-19, as the virus is bound to produce a financial domino effect from the economy down to the individual workers in the construction industry. When the stock market plummets, it can severely hinder the ability of those in the construction industry to provide timely payment for those who provide labor and produce materials.
To ensure protection of your right to payment, you should provide notice to your lien agent through the North Carolina lien agent system within fifteen days of the first furnishing of labor or materials at the construction site.
- The deadline for filing a lien on the property is no later than 120 days after the last furnishing.
- The deadline for commencing legal action in enforcement of the claim is no later than 100 days after the last furnishing.
Keeping up to date with these requirements and corresponding deadlines can ensure your success in disputes regarding payment for work performed or materials furnished on a construction project. For more information regarding mechanic’s lien law in North Carolina, reach out to a Charlotte mechanic’s lien attorney.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.