Contractor working on residential project.
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Are you a person who has improved real estate (residential or commercial) and the owner has refused to pay you for your services and/or improvements? If so, one of your legal remedies is to obtain a construction lien against the property that you improved. After obtaining a construction lien, you will have a lien against that real estate for the value of your contribution to the real estate (the amount of the lien can only be for the difference between the price paid by the owner and the price or value of the contribution).

Before a construction lien is obtained, the person who is contemplating obtaining a lien must first give the owner written notice of his or her intentions to claim a lien before the owner records the construction lien. To get the best possible priority for your construction lien, the lien must be obtained within 90 days after your contribution (i.e. improvement) is done. If the 90-day requirement is not met, this does not result in you not getting a lien; rather, it means that your lien will likely lose priority to other liens that may have been filed against that same property.

You must make sure that you have specifically followed the statutory requirements to obtain a construction lien. This is very important, as an owner that successfully contests the validity or accuracy of a construction lien will be awarded the full amount of costs and reasonable attorney’s fees incurred by the owner.

This information is taken from Chapter 35-27 of the North Dakota Century Code. There are many other requirements that must be followed to successfully obtain a valid construction lien. Please contact an attorney to discuss your specific details and to make sure that you are doing what is required to obtain a construction lien.