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Can I place a construction lien?

If you provide construction services or any type of home improvement work to customers, you usually secure a contract that outlines payment. When the customer refuses to pay, it leaves you in a bad position.

One option you may have, according to the North Dakota Century Code, is to secure a construction lien.


You qualify for a construction lien if you did work under a contract for another person who failed to pay you. You will have to file for the lien and provide the property owner with notice of it through certified mail.

You have the ability to place a lien against the property for the agreed-upon amount owed to you for the work you did. This can include the labor and materials. You cannot put a lien for other costs beyond the work you did and the agreement you had with the customer.


While you have a contract that is legally binding, that does not always guarantee you will receive payment. Your customer may have excuses for not paying or try to skip out on the bill. Since the money owed to you covers labor and materials you cannot repossess, it makes it difficult to recoup your losses.

The law is on your side. However, you can get a court order against the person to pay you, but collections on that order are up to you, and that is not an easy process. By having the option to place a lien, you have some ability to try to get your money back, so it is another collection method available to you.