Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Ontario – No “Do It Yourself” Paper Lien Filers Allowed

As of October 11, 2016, Land Registry Offices (LRO) across Ontario have stopped accepting paper format Construction lien documents. All documents must now be submitted electronically. Individuals and companies who have previously completed their Construction lien paperwork and physically taken it to a land registries office will no longer be able to file their liens. All documents submitted for registration must be submitted electronically unless the number of properties and parties exceeds the electronic system’s requirements. The only way to file your lien by paper is if the total number of people you are filing a lien against is more than the LRO’s electronic system can handle. How often does that happen?!

Nobody Likes Rejection

Many customers are calling our office because they had gone to the trouble of preparing their lien claim (pulling the land title information, researching their property, completing the construction lien application, and took time off work to go to the LRO) only to be rejected by the land title clerk. The clerk would not accept their lien as it now must be submitted electronically. How much time have you put into completing your lien and making sure it is accurate before the lien deadline only to be turned away at the final step? Talk about frustrating!!

The clock is ticking. What are your options?

Your options are to find a lawyer, use lien agent, or begin your application to get access to file electronically (credit check, background check, police check and valid Errors & Omissions Insurance required).

Lawyer – Select a lawyer with previous construction lien experience. They will be able to assist with the lien filing and lien perfection (legal action) should you require it. Lawyers maintain professional liability insurance for your mutual protection.

Lien Agent – An agent must have direct access to the land registry system and a lot of experience to make sure your lien is filed correctly and on time. Like a lawyer, a lien agent must also maintain professional liability insurance.

Self (Electronically) – Once you have an electronic land title account (approval typically takes several months) you will have direct access to file your lien. To successfully file your lien you must take the time to fully understand the electronic land titles system. Unlike lawyers and agents, you likely do not have professional liability insurance to protect you from making mistakes.
For most contractors and suppliers, their first thought is to find a lawyer to help them; however, they hesitate as the cost of using a law firm can make a bad financial situation worse whereas lien agents are fast and economical.  Some even offer guarantees to file a lien on time and accurately or its free.

About the author:  Alysia Lohner is Vice President of Lien-Pro Inc. (https://www.lien-pro.com/), Canada’s first national Construction and Builders’ Lien Agent. For almost ten years Alysia and her team have been providing contractors and suppliers with fast and affordable lien filing services. At Lien-Pro, our trademark is It’s Time To Get Paid™