Builders' Liens
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Holdbacks

Our lawyers have a comprehensive knowledge of the Builders’ Lien Act, and are experienced in litigating builders’ lien and construction disputes. We are familiar and experienced with the registration and response to liens registered on land interests at Alberta Land Titles, as well as liens registered against Government owned petroleum and natural gas leases or other agreements at Alberta Environment. We provide advice and assistance as to the most effective and efficient ways to deal with liens, in order to maintain required cash flow, while preserving statutory lien rights.

We would be pleased to answer any questions you have and provide assistance regarding any aspect of the Builders’ Lien process, including such issues as to who has the ability to file liens, what lands can be liened, when the lien period commences, what steps are required to preserve a lien once it is registered, taking or forcing action on a lien, or removing wrongfully registered liens from title. Our lawyers are well equipped to assist you with any builders’ lien problem you face.

Partner
Edmonton
780-423-7671
cpratt@fieldlaw.com
Counsel
Edmonton
780-423-7614
dcarroll@fieldlaw.com
, Executive Committee Member
VCARD
Partner
Edmonton
780-423-9585
ghope@fieldlaw.com
Counsel
Calgary
403-260-8520
jvanderlee@fieldlaw.com
, Executive Committee Member
VCARD
Partner
Edmonton
780-643-8768
jkowalchuk@fieldlaw.com
Partner
Calgary
403-260-8581
tkathol@fieldlaw.com

Holdbacks are the process by which owners of land can limit their exposure on a secured lien.  The 10% holdbacks kept by the owners (or contractors) are the first part of the  lien fund.  The second part of the lien fund is work that has been done on the property but has not yet been paid for  (ie. amounts owing).  The lien fund can ultimately be paid into court to discharge liens from the owners property, and  thereby avoid collection proceedings taken against the land.

The problem arises when payment is made to the contractor,  who does not pay his subcontractors.  In such a case, the subcontractors may file liens against the owners’ property,  despite the fact that payment has been made to the contractor.  In such cases, the owners liability is limited to 10% of the value of the work done plus any amounts unpaid.  If at the time the owner made payment to the general contractor there were no liens registered, then that payment will serve  to reduce the lien fund.  If there were liens registered, the payment will not reduce the lien fund.  Hence, no payment should be made by the owners on any contract when there are builders’ liens on title.