Fact File: Builders’ Liens

The Builders’ Lien Act is designed to help contractors get paid. But many companies and homeowners say it can also leave innocent parties caught in the middle.

That’s because some believe it’s too easy to file a false lien, since proof of debt is not required; all that’s needed is $15 dollars at the Land Titles Office and a sworn statement.

The Builders’ Lien Act allows you to lien a property for the amount you believe you are owed, but you must file within 45 days of your last day on the job.

Liens lapse after 180 days if legal action is not filed, so property owners can just wait it out.

However, a lien can prevent you from selling your home, and hurt your credit rating, as well as your status with the bank.

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To have liens removed sooner, you can fill out a notice, requiring the company to file a lawsuit within 30 days or the lien is removed.

Contractor Lee Anderson would like to see the government crack down on companies that are liened over and over again for not paying sub trades.

Otherwise, he says, “they are allowed to go onto another job and another job and keep operating on those terms.”

Anderson explains that the bigger companies that do this have put a lot of small companies out of business.

Service Alberta urges consumers to hold back ten percent of the project cost for 45 days, to protect yourself from liens.

For those wishing to file a lien, they can do so by mail or by visiting the nearest land titles office.

Service Alberta says filing a vexatious or false lien is an act of perjury under the criminal code, and complaints are investigated.

Property owners with concerns should contact Service Alberta at 1-877-427-4088.


You can read the full Builder’s Lien Act below.


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With files from Julie Matthews, Global News