The Statewide Title Newsletter and Legal Memorandum

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Issue  19  Article  45
Published:  2/1/1997

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Judgements of Mechanics’ Lien Enforcement
Ed Urban, Vice President and Corporate Counsel

G.S. 44A-13(b) states that a judgment of claim of lien enforcement (for labor, services or materials) must "direct a sale of the real property subject to the lien thereby enforced." It is important to remember that, if the judgment does that, the judgment constitutes (1) a judgment of lien enforcement under G.S. 44A-13(b) against the improved real property which lien relates back to the claimant’s first furnishing as set out in the claim of lien filed pursuant to G.S. 44A-12(c), the rule of priority set out in G.S. 44A-10 and G.S. 44A-14(a), and (2) a general judgment lien under G.S. 1-233 and G.S. 1-234 against all other real property of the debtor with priority as of docketing only.

If the judgment obtained by the claimant does not comply with G.S. 44A-13(b) as noted above, it constitutes a general judgment lien, with no "relation back" priority, against all property including improved real property. See E. Urban and G. Whitney, North Carolina Real Estate, Sec. 21-57 (Harrison Co. 1996).

If a claim of lien is discharged as a lien on improved real property by cash deposit or bond under G.S. 44A-16, a judgment of lien enforcement will be a relation back lien only as to the substituted security and will be a general judgment lien with priority only from docketing as to all real property, including the improved real property.

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