Construction Frequently
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Preliminary Notice FAQ

A South Carolina preliminary notice is a letter sent by a contractor or supplier to the property owner at the start of a construction project. In many states, a preliminary notice is required to be sent in order to secure the right to lien.

A general contractor may opt to file a Notice of Commencement with the county’s Register of Deeds or Clerk of Court within 15 days of starting work.⁴ 

 

This notice protects the general contractor by disallowing the amount of the lien filed by sub-subcontractors and suppliers to subcontractors to be bigger than the amount owed by the general contractor to the subcontractor who hired the lower-tier subcontractors.

 

All other parties may send a Notice of Furnishing Labor or Materials to the property owner and general contractor before filing and serving a mechanics lien.

Not sending a Notice of Commencement of Notice of Furnishing Labor or Materials does not affect the lien claim because these notices are not required in filing a mechanics lien.

Intent To File FAQ

A South Carolina notice of intent to lien is sent before the filing of a mechanics lien becomes necessary. Although only a number of states require that this notice be sent, many construction participants send a notice of intent to lien as an uncostly way to have payments for invoices settled.

No, sending a notice of intent to lien is not required in South Carolina. You may, however, choose to send one to the property owner as a reminder of outstanding payments.

Send your South Carolina notice of intent to lien at least 10 days before filing a mechanics lien to give the property owner enough time to settle payments first.

A notice of intent to lien is not required in South Carolina, thus not sending one will not affect your claim.

Mechanics Lien FAQ

A South Carolina mechanics lien is an effective tool that helps make sure you will be paid for the construction materials and/or labor you supplied. It is a legal claim that guarantees payment for contractors and suppliers.

 

This means that if you file a valid mechanics lien on a project you worked on in South Carolina and weren’t paid for your work, you have the right to enforce the lien through a lawsuit. This enforcement action can either prompt the client to settle or force the sale of the property. The proceeds of the sale will be used to settle your unpaid bill.

With a valid South Carolina mechanics lien, you have an interest in the improved property. When a mechanics lien is filed on the property you worked on, the property becomes collateral for uncollected payments.

In South Carolina, contractors, subcontractors, laborers, surveyors and equipment lessors, as well as design professionals such as architects and engineers, are covered by lien rights.¹ 

 

Moreover, security guards at a construction site are considered laborers and hence may file a mechanics lien. Individuals who performed landscape services that are worth more than $5,000 are covered by lien rights too.

A South Carolina mechanics lien must be filed within 90 days of last providing labor, services or materials.² 

 

Unlike most states, South Carolina can extend this period when “call-back” or warranty work is done, in which a construction participant returns to work as provided for by a warranty or to fix or improve a part of the project. The 90-day period is extended in this case, with the first day of the “call-back” work treated as the start of this period.

A South Carolina mechanics lien must be enforced within 6 months of last providing labor or materials, or within 6 months of filing the lien, whichever is earlier. The lien expires after this period if no action to enforce it is taken.³

A South Carolina mechanics lien must include the following pieces of information:

 

  • A just and true account of the amount claimed
  • A description of the property
  • The name of the owner of the property
  • The contractor license number or registration of the claimant

Yes, you need to be licensed to do the work you did in a project to be eligible to file a mechanics lien in South Carolina.

South Carolina does not have a legislatively designed lien waiver form, hence you can use any such form.

You need to cancel your South Carolina mechanics lien within 10 days of satisfaction.

South Carolina statute does not allow pay if paid clauses to be enforced. Pay when paid clauses are enforceable only as a timing mechanism and as to the manner of payment.

References:

https://www.scstatehouse.gov

¹ South Carolina Code 1976 Section 29-5-10

² South Carolina Code 1976 Section 29-5-90

³ South Carolina Code 1976 Section 29-5-120

South Carolina Code 1976 Section 29-5-23

Handle.com provides answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to contractors and others who are seeking information regarding preliminary notices, intent to file, mechanics lien, and other construction questions. These are provided for informational purposes only, and we cannot provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options, selection of forms or strategies.