It is well established that a subcontractor may recover against a public agency even though there is no direct contractual relationship between the parties. Accordingly where either a contractor or a subcontractor performs work with respect to public improvements and is due and owing money for supplies and services furnished, it is entitled to file a lien against the public agency or municipality to recover the amount owed. However, in order to do so, the contractor or subcontractor must first comply with certain procedures.

Specifically, under the New Jersey Municipal Mechanics’ Lien Law, in order to perfect a lien, a contractor or subcontractor must file written notice that it performed work or delivered materials to a subcontractor within 20 days of first performing such work or delivering such materials. This notice must be filed with the appropriate designated official for the public agency. Where a notice of delivery is not filed, the courts will not recognize a valid lien.

In addition, the New Jersey Municipal Mechanics’ Lien Law requires that a contractor or subcontractor file a notice of lien with a designated individual of the public agency either prior to the work to being “completed or accepted by resolution of the public agency” or within sixty (60) days thereafter. The notice of lien must contain certain designated items in order to be valid.

Moreover, an action to enforce a lien must be brought within 60 days from the date on which the work to be performed by the contractor is “completed or accepted by resolution of the pubic agency.” Otherwise, the lien will not be considered binding on the municipality or public agency.


© 2008 Nissenbaum Law Group, LLC