NC lien laws changed in 2013. All North Carolina general contractors should be aware of the changes. The lien law requires that you Post the Notice of Contract in the permit box on the job site. In addition, you will need to file the Notice of Contract with the clerk of court in the county where the property is located. If you are served with a signed notice of subcontract, you must serve on the subcontractor via certified mail, the written notice of payment setting forth the date of payment and the period for which payment is made as requested in the notice of subcontract form. These are required by NCGS § 44A-23.
The new laws require some additional paperwork. As the general contractor, you must serve on the lien agent a completed “Notice to Lien Agent Form”. This must be done within 15 days of first providing labor or materials (signing contract) on the project. In addition, you must also provide a copy of the contact information for the lien agent to any subcontractor or material supplier that you contract with within 3 days of the contract. You should include the lien agent contact information in the contract (your contract with the subs) that is signed by the parties to make sure that the subs acknowledge receipt of the information. If you do not list it in the contract, you must show proof of service as discussed below. If you fail to provide this information, you will be liable for any actual damages that the lower tier sub incurs as a result of your failure to give notice. This is set out in NCGS §§ 44A-11.1 and 11.2. You should also make certain that a sign disclosing the contact information for the lien agent be conspicuously posted and continuously posted until construction is completed if the information is not contained in the permit. The permit must also be posted. Your contract with the owner will likely make you responsible for these tasks. These are requirements for private projects. Public projects are a little different and not discussed here.
Service of the notice to lien agent and provision of the lien agent contact information can be made a number of ways as follows:
(1) Certified mail, return receipt requested.
(2) Signature confirmation as provided by the United States Postal Service.
(3) Physical delivery and obtaining a delivery receipt from the lien agent.
(4) Facsimile with a facsimile confirmation.
(5) Depositing with a designated delivery service authorized pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 7502(f)(2).
(6) Electronic mail, with delivery receipt.
(7) Utilizing an Internet Web site approved for such use by the designated lien agent to transmit to the designated lien agent, with delivery receipt, all information required to notify the lien agent of its designation pursuant to G.S. 44A-11.1 or to provide a notice to the designated lien agent pursuant to this section.
“Delivery receipt” includes an electronic or facsimile confirmation. A return receipt or other receipt showing delivery of the notice to the addressee or written evidence that such notice was delivered by the postal service or other carrier to but not accepted by the addressee shall be prima facie evidence of receipt.