Good afternoon John. My name is ***** ***** I look forward to helping you.
In New Jersey, a subcontractor does have the right to place a mechanic's lien on the property. BUT, under NJ law, anyone that does not have a direct contract with the owner should file a Notice of Delivery of Materials and Services with the Owner and Prime Contractor within 20 days of starting work on the Project. So, the question of whether or not you have the right to file such a lien is going to depend upon whether you filed this Notice. BUT, here's the thing...even if you could file a lien, in order to collect you still need to file suit to prove your claim; otherwise the lien simply lapses. So, given that, you should just proceed to sue your contractor. Filing the suit will give you the collection options and leverage you need to collect the debt owed you. That's because once the suit is filed and a judgment awarded, you become a judgment creditor, and if he doesn’t then pay the judgment, you can have the sheriff serve a summons on him for a debtor examination. That forces him to meet you in court again and answer questions under oath about his assets. After that information is obtained, you have the power to garnish wages, attach bank accounts, have the sheriff seize other personal property, and/or place liens on any non-homestead property he owns to satisfy the judgment. In my experience, simply filing the suit is typically all you need to do to resolve this outside of court because most of the time, once served with a summons he is being sued, your contractor will pay you rather than to fight a suit he's sure to lose. And, to give you more leverage, I would add a cause of action for fraud alleging an intent from the outset not to pay you, which will make you eligible for punitive damages and make it very difficult for the contractor to get bonded.
Thank you so much for allowing me to help you with your questions. I have done my best to provide information which fully addresses your question. If you have any follow up questions, please ask! If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service as OK, Good or Excellent (hopefully Good or Excellent). Otherwise, I receive no credit for assisting you today. I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating!