It is a sad fact of life that in the construction business, payment disputes arise between owners, architects, lenders, contractors, and subcontractors. When that happens, suppliers, workmen and other professionals can be placed in the position where their labor, work product and materials have been used and incorporated into a building or other improvement, yet they have not been paid.
Recognizing the injustice that can result when real estate is improved without payment to those who made the improvement possible, most states and the Federal government have enacted laws that permit contractors and subcontractors to assert a lien against the property in question--in some circumstances even if the supplier or tradesman did not deal directly with the owner. The goal of such a lien is first to provide notice that the property may be subject to sale to satisfy the debt and, when the lien is established and the debt is not paid, to sell the property and apply the proceeds to pay the debt.
A construction lien can be a powerful remedy and, therefore, is subject to strict rules about what must be done to assert a lien and when it must be done. Failure to meet a deadline may be fatal to a claim.
In Maryland, construction liens are available, but the process is usually much more complicated than simply "filing a lien." Notices must be sent at the right time to the right parties in interest, and a case must be filed in court according to strict timetables. Although the law is intended to be liberally construed to promote its objectives, contractors and subcontractors often find out too late that the process was not as easy as they had expected.
At the Brennan Law Firm, we can provide you with the knowledgeable assistance you will need if you are considering pursuing a lien. Our attorneys will be able to answer any questions you have regarding the circumstances you are facing and will be able to help you evaluate your best course of action.
If you are an engineer, architect, contractor, subcontractor, or laborer and you are not being paid, you should consult with a Maryland civil litigation attorney as soon as possible to ensure that you know what to do and can take action within the required deadlines.