By Alexander Barthet

An owner or general contractor may not know where the plumber or electrician on a job is obtaining his materials and whether monies being paid are getting to appropriate suppliers. But this mystery can be easily solved. As any construction attorney knows, the lien law actually allows you to obtain this information. Just ask. The owner or general contractor can simply serve a formal request on any lienor through a sworn statement of account.

Show me the information

The demand must be served on the lienor at the address and to the attention of any person who is designated in the notice to owner. The demand must prominently display the following (or similar) advice: WARNING: YOUR FAILURE TO FURNISH THE REQUESTED STATEMENT, SIGNED UNDER OATH, WITHIN 30 DAYS OR THE FURNISHING OF A FALSE STATEMENT WILL RESULT IN THE LOSS OF YOUR LIEN. The failure to notarize an otherwise accurate and timely Statement of Account is fatal to a construction lien claim. Strict compliance is required.

The Statement of Account

A Statement of Account must be in writing, given under oath and contain:

• the nature of the labor or services performed and to be performed;
• the materials furnished;
• the materials to be furnished;
• the amount paid on account to date; and
• the amount to become due.

No ifs, buts or maybes on this. Fail or refuse to furnish the Statement within 30 days after the demand or provide a false or fraudulent statement and you will lose your lien. Period.