Filing Your New Jersey Construction Lien

Filing in NJ: What You Need To Know

New Jersey lien laws differ greatly between residential and commercial projects.  It is important to know the difference in order to secure your lien rights properly.

Luckily, in New Jersey you are not required to serve a prelien to secure your rights.  If you have a job that you are not getting paid for, you only need to worry about the time limit for filing the lien rather than preliminary requirements.

Commercial Liens: These must be filed within 90 days from the last date of work on a project.  Any punch list work done on site will extend this time.  The clerks in New Jersey are generally very strict with rejecting late lien documents, so make sure you file on time!

Residential Liens: The filing of a residential lien is a process with multiple steps. The entire process must be completed within 120 days.  

1.  Within 60 days of the last furnishing of labor or materials, a lien claimant must file a Notice of Unpaid Balance with the county clerk.  This document is similar in format to a lien, and the filed copy must be sent to the AAA.
along with a demand for arbitration. 

2. The NUB and Demand for Arbitration must be sent to the AAA.  This arbitration has nothing to do with the litigation or resolution of the lien claimant’s underlying claim. It is solely for the purpose of determining whether the lien claimant has the right to file a lien claim.  The AAA will send confirmation of your lien claim amount back to us within 30 days. 

3.  At the conclusion of the arbitration, the lien claimant may file a Construction Lien Claim for the sum of money determined by the arbitrator.

As you can see, this process takes time.  It is best to begin the process as early as possible to avoid late filing. 

Public Liens: These are also known as municipal mechanics’ liens.  They must be filed within 60 days of when the entire project is completed and accepted by resolution of the public agency. This differs from commercial and residential liens, which have time requirements starting when the work of the claimant, not the project, is completed.