At times, it may become necessary to amend a construction lien claim after if it is initially filed. The relevant statutory authority which addresses this issue is codified by N.J.S.A. 2A:44A-11. In general, this section provides that a lien claim may be amended for any appropriate reason, including but not limited to, correcting inaccuracies in the lien claim or errors in the original form, or revising the amount claimed in the lien claim. The amendments may be made due to additional materials or services being provided, a partial payment of the lien claim, or a release of a proportionate share of interest in the property due to a partial payment. Like the original lien claim, the amended lien claim must be filed with the county clerk and shall comply with all the conditions or requirements for filing an original lien claim, including but not limited to, the notice requirements required by the statute.

The main issue to be addressed with regard to amended lien claim, however, is that a lien claim may not be amended to cure a violation of N.J.S.A. 2A:44A-15. What this means is that a lien claim may not be amended to cure a fatal error with the original lien claim that was filed. As such, a lien claim may not be amended if there is no contract to support it, if it is willfully overstated, if it was not filed in time, or the original form was not appropriate for the type of lien claim that was filed. As such, the original lien claim must have been valid on its face when originally filed, as an amendment thereto may not cure any such fatal error. For example, an issue may occur if a lien claimant attempts to file a residential lien claim in the form which is utilized by a commercial lien claim. Should this party now be out of time to correctly file a residential lien claim, it would be unable to amend the lien claim to comply with the requirements of the relevant residential lien law. Furthermore, if the lien claim was initially filed against the wrong entity, a lien claim may not be amended if the original entity which was not properly noticed of the lien claim. As such, although amendments to lien claims are generally permitted, they are subject to certain prohibitions.

The attorneys at Stark & Stark are well versed in the relevant sections of the New Jersey Construction Lien Law and are able to assist in either filing or defending against improperly filed lien claims.