Lien Filing Requirements for South Carolina Jobs
Many North Carolina construction contractors and subcontractors have work in South Carolina and therefore should be aware of their lien rights in the state. South Carolina’s filing deadlines are a little different than North Carolina requirements, as are the rules on priority of liens over competing interests.
Pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 29-5-10 et. seq., a contractor, subcontractor or supplier with a lien claim can file a mechanics’ lien within 90 days of the date of the last furnishing of labor or materials. The claimant must then bring a lawsuit within 180 days of the date of last furnishing; otherwise, the lien claim dissolves.
In South Carolina, proper filing includes not only filing a Notice and Certificate of Mechanics’ lien with the clerk of court, but also serving the Notice and Certificate on the property owner. A proper Notice and Certification of Mechanic’s lien must include a statement and account of the amount due and a description of the covered property that satisfies S.C. Code Ann. § 29-5-90.
Unlike North Carolina liens, South Carolina liens do not “relate back” to the date of first furnishing of labor or materials. This creates more potential for priority disputes between lien holders and other parties, such as holders of recorded mortgages. Pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 29-5-70, a properly filed mechanic’s lien will not take priority over a previously recorded mortgage on the same property. However, if the lien is properly filed and served on the mortgage lender, the lien holder can take priority over mortgage disbursements made after the lien is properly filed and served on the mortgage holder. (S.C. Code Ann. § 29-3-50.) To get priority over these disbursements, the lien holder must serve notice of the lien on all prior recorded mortgage holders. Finally, South Carolina lien holders who prevail in a lien dispute are entitled to recover attorney’s fees and court costs from the defending party, although the fees and costs recovered may not exceed the lien amount.
For more information on this or any other South Carolina construction legal question, please contact Caroline Lindsey at (919) 277-2541 or by email, CLindsey@andersonandjones.com!