If you are a contractor, subcontractor, or worker seeking the protection of a builders lien, be aware that the BC Builders Lien Act, SBC 1997, c. 45 imposes strict timelines and filing requirements. If you miss the deadlines imposed by the Act or do not properly prepare and register the forms required by builders lien regulations, you lose your opportunity to be protected by a lien.
What is a builders lien?
Contractors, subcontractors, or workers can file a BC builders lien claim if they are not paid for work done and/or materials supplied on a construction project. A builders lien is registered as a charge against title to the property under construction, giving the lien claimant a form of security for payment of the money owed.
How do I file a builders lien claim in BC?
Builders lien regulations require that a completed “claim of lien” (Form 5) be registered in the appropriate Land Title Office (“LTO”), along with the filing fee. The claim of lien form requires detailed information including:
- Legal description of the property against which the lien is to be filed;
- Legal name of the person or company that owes money to the lien claimant;
- Description of the work done and/or material supplied; and
- Details of the amount owed, including when it became due.
It is crucial that the claim of lien form be properly completed and registered in the correct LTO. Errors can result in the lien being invalid. The best practice is to obtain two title searches of the property from the LTO: the first immediately before filing to confirm information, and the second just after registration to ensure that the claim of lien shows as pending against title to the property.
What is the deadline for filing a builders lien claim?
You must act quickly to file a builders lien claim. If you wait too long, you will lose the right to claim for unpaid work or materials. The deadline to file a lien is 45 days.
It is important to determine when the 45-day period has been “triggered.” The issuance of a certificate of completion (Form 3 in the builders lien regulation) with respect to a contract or subcontract is a triggering event for the 45-day period. Beyond that clear example, calculating the start date for filing claim of lien can be complicated. The deadline will begin to run after the construction project is substantially completed, abandoned or ended.
It is always wise to seek legal advice so that you do not miss deadlines and lose the protection of a builders lien. It is also worth noting that if you miss the deadline to file a builders lien, you still have rights under your contract. An experienced construction lawyer can help you enforce your contractual rights. Contact the legal professionals at Invicta Law today for more information.