What amount should I include in the lien?

The lien should include reasonable certainty as to the amount owed. Obviously, this juxtaposes contractors and other claimants in a potentially precarious position, because many factors play into how to accurately ascertain the total amount owed at the outset of a claim being made. Many times it takes lengthy discovery through litigation and a trial to fully determine damages owed, so deciphering this within a short lien time filing period can be somewhat challenging.

There are multiple variables and considerations which go into the amount which is the sum a claimant files for at the time of lien filing. Many times, retainage may not be released, and the general contractor may claim retainage is not yet “owed,” so inclusion within the lien is alleged to be improper. Additionally, the law may provide for penalties pursuant to the prompt pay statute, unpaid wage penalties (which traditionally will only be seen in laborer and sub consultant claims), and other statutory penalties which increase the principal balance owed.

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