Liening for Disputed Change Orders

You are a contractor or subcontractor. You are owed money. The money you are owed includes more than contract balance and retainage.   It includes change order work. But, the change order work is disputed.   Some change orders are disputed in quantum. Others are disputed in entitlement. Should your construction lien include amounts associated with disputed change orders?

First and foremost, you should be working with an attorney to help prepare your lien to determine whether you should lien for disputed change orders and, if so, are there amounts to exclude (such as delay related costs) that are not properly lienable.

When it comes to liening for disputed change orders, you want to ensure you are liening for work done in good faith, within a reasonable time, pursuant to the terms of the contract, and necessary for a finished job. You want to make sure your disputed change orders fall within these requirements. This is analyzed on a case-by-case basis, meaning there is not a brightline objective standard—the reason to consult an attorney.

Please contact David Adelstein at or (954) 361-4720 if you have questions or would like more information regarding this article. You can follow David Adelstein on Twitter @DavidAdelstein1.

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