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Building Liens Unveiled: How They Influence Your Property Investment

When purchasing a property, there are many factors to consider, from location and price to condition and legal status. One often overlooked aspect of property transactions is the presence of building liens, which can have significant implications for both buyers and sellers.

Building Liens Defined

Building liens, also known as construction liens or mechanic’s liens, are legal claims placed on a property by contractors, subcontractors, or suppliers who have provided labor, materials, or services for its improvement.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the ins and outs of building liens and how they can affect your purchase of property.

How Building Liens Work

  1. Contractual Agreement: A property owner enters into contracts with contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers for construction or renovation work on their property.
  2. Performance of Work or Supply of Materials: The contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers perform the agreed-upon work or supply materials for the project.
  3. Non-Payment: If the property owner fails to pay for the work or materials provided, the contractor, subcontractor, or supplier may file a building lien against the property.
  4. Notice of Lien: The party seeking payment typically needs to provide notice of the lien to the property owner and possibly other interested parties, depending on the jurisdiction’s laws.
  5. Recording the Lien: Once the notice of lien is served, the lien is typically recorded with the relevant government office, such as the county clerk’s office, to make it a matter of public record.
  6. Enforcement: If the property owner still does not pay after receiving notice of the lien, the party holding the lien may pursue legal action to enforce the lien. This may involve foreclosing on the property to force a sale and recover the amount owed.

Building liens provide contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers with a means of protecting their interests and ensuring they receive payment for the work and materials they provide. They also serve as a form of security for those parties involved in construction projects. However, building lien laws can vary significantly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so it’s important to understand the specific requirements and procedures in your area.

How Building Liens Impact Conveyancing

Building liens can have significant implications for conveyancing, which is the legal process of transferring property ownership from one party to another. Here’s how building liens can affect conveyancing:

  1. Title Search: During the conveyancing process, the buyer’s solicitor typically conducts a title search to identify any encumbrances or liens on the property. Building liens are among the encumbrances that the buyer’s solicitor will look for. If a building lien exists on the property, it will be discovered during this search.
  2. Disclosure Requirements: Sellers are generally required to disclose any known encumbrances or defects on the property to potential buyers. If the seller is aware of a building lien, they must disclose this information to the buyer during the conveyancing process.
  3. Resolution of Liens: If a building lien is discovered during conveyancing, it must be addressed before the property can be transferred to the buyer. Depending on the circumstances, this may involve negotiating a settlement with the party holding the lien, paying off the lien amount, or resolving any disputes through legal means.
  4. Title Insurance: In some cases, buyers may opt to purchase title insurance to protect themselves against potential title defects, including building liens. Title insurance policies may cover losses arising from undisclosed building liens or defects in the property’s title.
  5. Delay in Settlement: If a building lien dispute cannot be resolved quickly, it may delay the settlement of the property transaction. This delay can be frustrating for both buyers and sellers, as it may affect their timelines and plans for the property.

To sum up, understanding the intricacies of building liens is crucial for anyone involved in property transactions. From buyers to sellers, knowing how building liens work and their potential impact on conveyancing is essential for a successful real estate transaction. If you’re facing building lien issues or need guidance in navigating the complexities of property law, our experienced real estate lawyers at Northam Law are here to help. With our competence and dedication, we’ll ensure that you have a seamless purchase or sale of property. Contact us today to learn more and safeguard your property investments.


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Melissa has 8+ years of combined Commercial, Business and Contract Law experience as In-House Counsel in manufacturing, health, real estate development, and broadcast communication industries. She is instrumental in developing strategies to minimize legal risk and ensure regulatory compliance.

She has 6+ years of Human Resources Management experience and a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) designation. Her practice includes Family Law, Civil Litigation, Wills & Estates and Real Estate & Conveyancing.

For fun, she visits ancient sites and ruins and belts out popular Broadway tunes.

northam law corporation

Northam Law is a boutique law firm offering advisory services in Real Estate Law and Conveyancing, Business Law, and Human Resources. Our practice areas also include Wills & Estates and Family Law. Notarization services are also available.

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