Protect What You’re Owed in Turbulent Times

At Emalfarb Law LLC and National Lien & Bond, we are passionate about helping our construction industry clients get paid for their work or the materials they supply to their construction jobs. We have a nationwide network of experienced construction industry lawyers who are ready to provide clients with effective advice and solutions to late- or no-payment situations. In our webinar “Protect What You’re Owed in Turbulent Times,” we discuss some key steps you need to take to get paid.

Here is a summary of some points discussed in that webinar.

How It All Started – 1791

The concept of a mechanics’ lien in the US originated early in our history. When the federal government carved out Washington, DC, from parts of Virginia and Maryland, it was a very young country still getting on its feet. To encourage building and growth within the district, the state of Maryland passed a lien law that applied only to the portion of the state that was to become part of Washington, DC. It read as follows:

And, for the encouragement of master builders to undertake the building and finishing houses within the said city, by securing to them a just and effectual remedy for their advances and earnings, Be it enacted, That for all sums due and owing, on written contracts, for the building any house in the said city, or the
brick work, or carpenters or joiners work thereon, the undertaker, or workmen, employed by the person for whose use the house shall be built, shall have a lien on the house and the ground on which the same is erected, as well as for the materials found by him . . .

Even in that earliest law, some requirements had to be followed for the lien to be effective. The contract for the work had to be acknowledged before “one of the commissioners, a justice of the peace, or an alderman of the corporation of George-town.” It needed to be “recorded in the clerk’s office for recording deeds” no later than “six calendar months from the time of acknowledgment.” The contractor had “two years after the last work is done” to enforce the lien, which acted as a mortgage on the property.

Protecting Your Payment Rights Today

The requirements that apply to mechanics’ liens have not gotten any simpler in the 230+ years since that first lien law was created. In addition, other mechanisms have been developed that sometimes replace mechanics’ lien rights. These vary considerably depending on the type of project you’re working on and its location. If you work on multiple projects in more than one state, it can be difficult and confusing to keep track of what you need to do and when to protect what is probably your largest asset – your receivables.

This is where Emalfarb Law LLC and National Lien & Bond can help. We help our clients create and implement effective enforcement strategies in all 50 states – and the District of Columbia. We do this through a network of experienced construction law attorneys across the country, all of whom share our passion for helping clients get paid.

What You Can Do to Secure Your Largest Assets

We often begin with a formula for getting paid:

Transaction + Power = Payment

By “transaction,” we mean your contract. We can help you negotiate fair and reasonable contract terms that will make it easier for you to enforce your payment rights if payments are delayed or don’t happen at all.

By “power,” we mean your legal remedies. Our experienced construction law attorneys can review the details of your project and help you meet whatever notice provisions, demand requirements, and enforcement deadlines apply to that particular project.

Know the Laws That Apply to Your Project

As we mention above, there are very different laws and procedures that apply when it comes to enforcing your payment rights, depending on the type and location of your project. For example:

  • Federal projects are subject to the Miller Act, which replaces your mechanics’ lien rights with the right to look to a bond for payment.
  • State projects are often governed by “little Miller Acts,” which generally follow the concept of the federal version but can still vary from one state to another.
  • Private projects may be bonded, in which case you will look to the bond for payment, or you may need to follow that state’s mechanics or construction lien requirements if you want to secure your payment rights.

At Emalfarb Law LLC and National Lien & Bond, we advise our clients on what they need to do to effectively enforce their payment rights based on a careful review of the details of each of their projects. We also help them create internal procedures to allow them to stay on top of their projects and take the proper steps within the deadlines that apply to each project. We are always available to take the lead on enforcement efforts; to date, we’ve helped clients recover claims having a total value of nearly $9 billion.

Attention to Detail Is Important

When protecting your right to get paid, the key is to understand what you need to do and when you need to do it for each project. Because your payment enforcement options can vary from one job to another, even within a single state, and will likely differ from one state to another, keeping track of this information is vital. We understand how complicated doing this can be, on top of your “day job” of providing your services or materials to multiple construction projects, which is why we’re here to help you make sure what needs to get done gets done, correctly and on time.

To that end, one crucial thing is to ensure that any lien you assert is accurate; that you only include in the lien amounts that the law allows you to include. For example, not all states allow late fees to be included in a mechanics’ lien. The danger is that you can be accused of asserting a fraudulent lien, which can void the entire lien. Emalfarb Law LLC and National Lien and Bond will help you ensure that any payment request you make, and any lien you file are accurate and follow the legal requirements for the type and location of the project you’re working on.

Working With Emalfarb Law LLC and National Lien & Bond Can Help You Get Paid

At Emalfarb Law LLC, we are devoted to helping clients in the construction industry get paid on time, making it easier to protect themselves when they don’t, and collecting past-due funds. In fact, over the years, we’ve helped our clients recover more than $9 billion in past-due claims for contract work. We have a strong network of dedicated and experienced attorneys in all 50 states who understand how to prepare and file a mechanic’s lien. Working with us means working with professionals focusing on getting you paid.

We can help you in several different and complementary ways:

  • We work with clients to develop in-house best practices to keep tabs on projects so they know when payments are late and what to do next.
  • We help clients understand what steps they need to take to protect their receivables, steps that can vary depending on the project location, the owner, the type of project, and the client’s role in the project.
  • We help prepare, serve, and file mechanics liens, payment bond claims, and non-payment lawsuits.
  • We negotiate with owners and contractors on behalf of our clients from a position of knowledge and strength.

Contact Emalfarb Law LLC at (847) 208-6513 or by using our contact form to schedule a consultation. Tell us about your company, and let us share how we can help you get paid.