Coronavirus is dominating the news. Construction in Virginia is facing what is at best an uncertain future and at worst a series of large scale shutdowns due to COVID-19. The number of cases seem to grow almost exponentially on a daily basis while states and the federal government try and patch together a solution. All of this adds up to the possibility that owners and other construction related businesses could shutter and importantly payment streams can slow or dry up. Aside from keeping your contractual terms in mind and meeting the notice deadlines found in your contract, these uncertain economic times require you to be aware of the claims process.
Along with whatever claims process is set out in the contract and your run of the mill breach of contract through non-payment type claims, in times like this payment bond and mechanic’s lien claims are a key way to protect your payment interest. The law has differing requirements for each of these unique types of payment claims.
Mechanic’s liens are technical and statute based with very picky requirements. The form and content of a memorandum of lien will be strictly read and in most cases form will trump substance. Further, among other requirements best discussed with a Virginia construction lawyer, you must keep in mind two numbers, 90 and 150. The 90 days is the amount of time that you have in which to record a lien. This deadline is generally calculated from the last date of work (or possibly the last day of the last month in which you did work). File after this deadline and your lien will be invalid because the right to record a lien has expired. The 150 days is a look back from the last day of work or the date of lien filing, whichever is sooner in time. The 150 days applies to the work that can be captured in the lien. In other words, it dictates the amount of the lien.