When a materials supplier has performed all of their work, or provided materials and equipment for a job, it is important for them to be paid for that work. When they go unpaid, there are important legal resources available to them to enforce their payment rights for the job. Because there are many parties involved in the completion of a construction project, it is essential for materials suppliers and subcontractors to be familiar with their payment rights in nonpayment situations.

When project owners and general contractors have failed to pay a materials supplier or subcontractor, materials suppliers and subcontractors may have the right to file a lien on the property. A materialmens’ lien can help those parties recover payment for the hard work they have performed. A dispute over payment can be a significant concern for the materials supplier or subcontractor and can have a significant impact on their business and livelihood if they go unpaid.

Lien enforcement can be a complex process and there are important deadlines associated with the process to be familiar with. In addition, enforcing a lien may involve municipal and state laws so it is important to be familiar with both and know when each applies and in what circumstances. There are also concerns of registration and enforcement associated with construction-related liens. Situations involving nonpayment and liens may be resolved through negotiation, alternative dispute resolution or litigation.

Because of the complexities associated with placing a lien for nonpayment, trained guidance through the process can be valuable to ensure fair payment for the work performed. It is important for materials suppliers to be aware that they have the same rights to payment for work performed as general contractors and others on a construction project and to know how to enforce those rights when necessary.