As 2012 draws to a close — faster than many of us can believe — the dawn of a new era under North Carolina’s mechanic’s lien and bond statutes quickly approaches. And that means it’s high time for me to end my brief blogging hiatus with a series dedicated to helping construction industry participants throughout the state understand the changes that are rapidly coming down the pike.
By way of brief recap, legislation protecting general contractors from double payment liability on public projects and legislation protecting title insurers from “hidden liens” on private projects made splashy headlines this past summer. I’ll be delving into the nuts and bolts of those significant changes as this series continues. This post, however, is dedicated to addressing a less-publicized, but no less substantial, alteration to the lien law that every potential lien claimant will need to bear in mind in 2013, and beyond: the process by which lien rights are “perfected.”
My May 23 post about proposed revisions to North Carolina’s lien laws mentioned that protection against “hidden liens” had been omitted from earlier versions of the bill, due to a concern that the issue required additional study prior to legislative action.
The title insurance industry, however, has other ideas.
In recent weeks, title insurers have ratcheted up the pressure for the issue to be addressed immediately, prior to the General Assembly’s adjournment of its “short session” at the end of this month. The legislation they are pursuing would make profound changes to the manner in which all potential lien claimants — architects, engineers, general contractors, subcontractors and suppliers included — would need to preserve their lien rights, before a claim of lien is ever filed.
This post provides background on the so-called “hidden lien problem,” summarizes the title insurers’ current legislative efforts, and identifies potential problems with their draft legislation.