NORTH CAROLINA

LIEN LAWS BY STATE
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GENERAL STATUTES OF NORTH CAROLINA
PART 1 LIENS OF MECHANICS, LABORERS AND MATERIALMEN DEALING WITH OWNER

44A-7 Definitions

44A-8 Persons Entitled to Liens

44A-9 Property Covered by Lien

44A-10 Priority of Liens

44A-11 Perfection and Enforcement

44A-12 Filing of Claim, Indexing, Time for Filing, Contents, No Amendment, Assignment, Prohibited Waivers

44A-13 Enforcement Action, Judgment, Notice of Lis Pendens

44A-14 Sale

44A-15 Attachment

44A-16 Discharge of Lien, Deposit in Court, Release Bond

PART 2 LIENS OF MECHANICS, LABORERS AND MATERIALMEN DEALING WITH ONE OTHER THAN OWNER

44A-17 Definitions

44A-18 Liens Upon Construction Funds, Subrogation

44A-19 Notice of Claim

44A-20 Duties of Obligor, Personal Liability, Indemnity, Lien Upon Real Property

44A-21 Prorata Payments

44A-22 Priorities

44A-23 Subcontractors May Enforce the Lien of the Contractor, Procedure, Notice of Contract, Notice of Subcontract, Forms

PART 3 CRIMINAL SANCTIONS FOR FURNISHING A FALSE STATEMENT IN CONNECTION WITH IMPROVMENT TO REAL PROPERTY

44A-24 False Satement A Misdemeanor

44A-25 Definitions

44A-26 Bonds Required

44A-27 Actions On Payment Bonds; Service Of Notice

44A-28 Actions On Payment Bonds; Venue And Limitations

44A-29 Limitation Of Liability Of A Surety

44A-30 Variance Of Liability; Contents Of Bond

44A-31 Certified Copy Of Bond And Contract

44A-32 Designation Of Official; Violation A Misdemeanor

44A-33 Form

44A-34 Construction Of Article

44A-34 Attorney’s Fees

GENERAL STATUTES OF NORTH CAROLINA

CHAPTER 44A STATUTORY LIENS AND CHARGES

ARTICLE 2 STATUTORY LIENS ON REAL PROPERTY

PART 1 LIENS OF MECHANICS, LABORERS AND MATERIALMEN DEALING WITH OWNER

44A-7 Definitions

Unless the context otherwise requires in this Article:

(1) “Improve” means to build, effect, alter, repair, or demolish any improvement upon, connected with, or on or beneath the surface of any real property, or to excavate, clear, grade, fill or landscape any real property, or to construct driveways and private roadways, or to furnish materials, including trees and shrubbery, for any of such purposes, or to perform any labor upon such improvements, and shall also mean and include any design or other professional or skilled services furnished by architects, engineers, land surveyors and landscape architects registered under Chapter 83A, 89A or 89C of the General Statutes, and rental of equipment directly utilized on the real property in making the improvement.

(2) “Improvement” means all or any part of any building, structure, erection, alteration, demolition, excavation, clearing, grading, filling, or landscaping, including trees and shrubbery, driveways, and private roadways, on real property.

(3) An “owner” is a person who has an interest in the real property improved and for whom an improvement is made and who ordered the improvement to be made. “Owner” includes successors in interest of the owner and agents of the owner acting within their authority.

(4) “Real property” means the real estate that is improved, including lands, leaseholds, tenements and hereditaments, and improvements placed thereon.

44A-8 Persons Entitled to Liens

Any person who performs or furnishes labor or professional design or surveying services or furnishes materials or furnishes rental equipment pursuant to a contract, either express or implied, with the owner of real property for the making of an improvement thereon shall, upon complying with the provisions of this Article, have a lien on such real property to secure payment of all debts owing for labor done or professional design or surveying services or material furnished or equipment rented pursuant to such contract.

44A-9 Property Covered by Lien

Liens authorized under the provisions of this Article shall extend to the improvement and to the lot or tract on which the improvement is situated, o the extent of the interest of the owner. When the lot or tract on which a building is erected is not surrounded at the time of making the contract with the owner by an enclosure separating it from adjoining land of the same owner, the lot or tract to which any lien extends shall be such area as is reasonably necessary for the convenient use and occupation of such building, but in no case shall the area include a building, structure, or improvement not normally used or occupied or intended to be used or occupied with the building with respect to which the lien is claimed.

44A-10 Priority of Liens

Liens granted by this Article shall relate to and take effect from the time of the first furnishing of labor or materials at the site of the improvement by the person claiming the lien.

44A-11 Perfection and Enforcement

Liens granted by this Article shall be perfected as of the time set forth in G.S. 44A-10 upon filing of claim of lien pursuant to G.S. 44A-12 and may be enforced pursuant to G.S. 44A-13.

44A-12 Filing of Claim, Indexing, Time for Filing, Contents, No Amendment, Assignment, Prohibited Waivers

(a) Place of Filing. – All claims of lien against any real property must be filed in the office of the clerk of superior court in each county wherein the real property subject to the claim of lien is located. The clerk of superior court shall note the claim of lien on the judgment docket and index the same under the name of the record owner of the real property at the time the claim of lien is filed. An additional copy of the claim of lien may also be filed with any receiver, referee in bankruptcy or assignee for benefit of creditors who obtains legal authority over the real property.

(b) Time of Filing. – Claims of lien may be filed at any time after the maturity of the obligation secured thereby but not later than 120 days after the last furnishing of labor or materials at the site of the improvement by the person claiming the lien.

(c) Contents of Claim of Lien to Be Filed. – All claims of lien must be filed using a form substantially as follows:

CLAIM OF LIEN

(1) Name and address of the person claiming the lien:

(2) Name and address of the record owner of the real property claimed to be subject to the lien at the time the claim of lien is filed:

(3) Description of the real property upon which the lien is claimed: (Street address, tax lot and block number, reference to recorded instrument, or any other description of real property is sufficient, whether or not it is specific, if it reasonably identifies what is described.)

(4) Name and address of the person with whom the claimant contracted for the furnishing of labor or materials:

(5) Date upon which labor or materials were first furnished upon said property by the claimant:

(5a) Date upon which labor or materials were last furnished upon said property by the claimant:

(6) General description of the labor performed or materials furnished and the amount claimed therefore:

______________________ Lien Claimant

Filed this _____ day of _____, 20____

Clerk of Superior Court

A general description of the labor performed or materials furnished is sufficient. It is not necessary for lien claimant to file an itemized list of materials or a detailed statement of labor performed.

(d) No Amendment of Claim of Lien. – A claim of lien may not be amended. A claim of lien may be cancelled by a claimant or his authorized agent or attorney and a new claim of lien substituted therefore within the time herein provided for original filing.

(e) Notice of Assignment of Claim of Lien. – When a claim of lien has been filed, it may be assigned of record by the lien claimant in a writing filed with the clerk of superior court who shall note said assignment in the margin of the judgment docket containing the claim of lien. Thereafter the assignee becomes the lien claimant of record.

(f) Waiver of Right to File or Claim Liens as Consideration for Contract Against Public Policy. An agreement to waive the right to file or claim a lien granted under this Article, which agreement is in anticipation of and in consideration for the awarding of any contract, either expressed or implied, for the making of an improvement upon real property under this Article is against public policy and is unenforceable. This section does not prohibit subordination or release of a lien granted under this Article.

44A-13 Enforcement Action, Judgment, Notice of Lis Pendens

(a) Where and When Action Instituted. – An action to enforce the lien created by this Article may be instituted in any county in which the lien is filed. No such action may be commenced later than 180 days after the last furnishing of labor or materials at the site of the improvement by the person claiming the lien. If the title to the real property against which the lien is asserted is by law vested in a receiver or trustee in bankruptcy, the lien shall be enforced in accordance with the orders of the court having jurisdiction over said real property.

(b) Judgment. – Judgment enforcing a lien under this Article may be entered for the principal amount shown to be due, not exceeding the principal amount stated in the claim of lien enforced thereby. The judgment shall direct a sale of the real property subject to the lien thereby enforced.

(c) Notice of Action. – Unless the action enforcing the lien created by this Article is instituted in the county in which the lien is filed, in order for the sale under the provisions of G.S. 44A-14(a) to pass all title and interest of the owner to the purchaser good against all claims or interests recorded, filed or arising after the first furnishing of labor or materials at the site of the improvement by the person claiming the lien, a notice of lis pendens shall be filed in each county in which the real property subject to the lien is located within 180 days after the last furnishing of labor or materials at the site of the improvement by the person claiming the lien. It shall not be necessary to file a notice of lis pendens in the county in which the action enforcing the lien is commenced in order for the judgment entered therein and the sale declared thereby to carry with it the priorities set forth in G.S. 44A-14(a). If neither an action nor a notice of lis pendens is filed in each county in which the real property subject to the lien is located within 180 days after the last furnishing of labor or materials at the site of the improvement by the person claiming the lien, as to real property claimed to be subject to the lien in such counties where the action was neither commenced nor a notice of lis pendens filed, the judgment entered in the action enforcing the lien shall not direct a sale of the real property subject to the lien enforced thereby nor be entitled to any priority under the provisions of G.S. 44A-14(a), but shall be entitled only to those priorities accorded by law to money judgments.

44A-14 Sale

(a) Execution Sale; Effect of Sale. – Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, sales under this Article and distribution of proceeds thereof shall be made in accordance with the execution sale provisions set out in G.S. 1-339.41 through 1-339.76. The sale of real property to satisfy a lien granted by this Article shall pass all title and interest of the owner to the purchaser, good against all claims or interests recorded, filed or arising after the first furnishing of labor or materials at the site of the improvement by the person claiming a lien.

(b) Sale of Property upon Order Prior to Judgment. – A resident judge of superior court in the district in which the action to enforce the lien is pending, a judge regularly holding the superior courts of the said district, any judge holding a session of superior court, either civil or criminal, in the said district, a special judge of superior court residing in the said district, or the chief judge of the district court in which the action to enforce the lien is pending, may, upon notice to all interested parties and after a hearing thereupon and upon a finding that a sale prior to judgment is necessary to prevent substantial waste, destruction, depreciation or other damage to said real property prior to the final determination of said action, order any real property against which a lien under this Article is asserted, sold in any manner determined by said judge to be commercially reasonable. The rights of all parties shall be transferred to the proceeds of the sale. Application for such order and further proceedings thereon may be heard in or out of session.

44A-15 Attachment

In addition to other grounds for attachment, in all cases where the owner removes or attempts or threatens to remove an improvement from real property subject to a lien under this Article, without the written permission of the lien claimant or with the intent to deprive the lien claimant of his lien, the remedy of attachment of the property subject to the lien shall be available to the lien claimant or any other person.

44A-16 Discharge of Lien, Deposit in Court, Release Bond

Any lien filed under this Article may be discharged by any of the following methods:

(1) The lien claimant of record, his agent or attorney, in the presence of the clerk of superior court may acknowledge the satisfaction of the lien indebtedness, whereupon the clerk of superior court shall forthwith make upon the record of such lien an entry of such acknowledgment of satisfaction, which shall be signed by the lien claimant of record, his agent or attorney, and witnessed by the clerk of superior court.

(2) The owner may exhibit an instrument of satisfaction signed and acknowledged by the lien claimant of record which instrument states that the lien indebtedness has been paid or satisfied, whereupon the clerk of superior court shall cancel the lien by entry of satisfaction on the record of such lien.

(3) By failure to enforce the lien within the time prescribed in this Article.

(4) By filing in the office of the clerk of superior court the original or certified copy of a judgment or decree of a court of competent jurisdiction showing that the action by the claimant to enforce the lien has been dismissed or finally determined adversely to the claimant.

(5) Whenever a sum equal to the amount of the lien or liens claimed is deposited with the clerk of court, to be applied to the payment finally determined to be due, whereupon the clerk of superior court shall cancel the lien or liens of record.

(6) Whenever a corporate surety bond, in a sum equal to one and one-fourth times the amount of the lien or liens claimed and conditioned upon the payment of the amount finally determined to be due in satisfaction of said lien or liens, is deposited with the clerk of court, whereupon the clerk of superior court shall cancel the lien or liens of record.

PART 2 LIENS OF MECHANICS, LABORERS AND MATERIALMEN DEALING WITH ONE OTHER THAN OWNER

44A-17 Definitions

Unless the context otherwise requires in this Article:

(1) “Contractor” means a person who contracts with an owner to improve real property.

(2) “First tier subcontractor” means a person who contracts with a contractor to improve real property.

(3) “Obligor” means an owner, contractor or subcontractor in any tier who owes money to another as a result of the other’s partial or total performance of a contract to improve real property.

(4) “Second tier subcontractor” means a person who contracts with a first tier subcontractor to improve real property.

(5) “Third tier subcontractor” means a person who contracts with a second tier subcontractor to improve real property.

44A-18 Liens Upon Construction Funds, Subrogation

Upon compliance with this Article:

(1) A first tier subcontractor who furnished labor, materials, or rental equipment at the site of the improvement shall be entitled to a lien upon funds which are owed to the contractor with whom the first tier subcontractor dealt and which arise out of the improvement on which the first tier subcontractor worked or furnished materials.

(2) A second tier subcontractor who furnished labor, materials, or rental equipment at the site of the improvement shall be entitled to a lien upon funds which are owed to the first tier subcontractor with whom the second tier subcontractor dealt and which arise out of the improvement on which the second tier subcontractor worked or furnished materials. A second tier subcontractor, to the extent of his lien provided in this subdivision, shall also be entitled to be subrogated to the lien of the first tier subcontractor with whom he dealt provided for in subdivision (1) and shall be entitled to perfect it by notice to the extent of his claim.

(3) A third tier subcontractor who furnished labor, materials, or rental equipment at the site of the improvement shall be entitled to a lien upon funds which are owed to the second tier subcontractor with whom the third tier subcontractor dealt and which arise out of the improvement on which the third tier subcontractor worked or furnished materials. A third tier subcontractor, to the extent of his lien provided in this subdivision, shall also be entitled to be subrogated to the lien of the second tier subcontractor with whom he dealt and to the lien of the first tier subcontractor with whom the second tier subcontractor dealt to the extent that the second tier subcontractor is entitled to be subrogated thereto, and in either case shall be entitled to perfect the same by notice to the extent of his claim.

(4) Subcontractors more remote than the third tier who furnished labor, materials, or rental equipment at the site of the improvement shall be entitled to a lien upon funds which are owed to the person with whom they dealt and which arise out of the improvement on which they furnished labor, materials, or rental equipment, but such remote tier subcontractor shall not be entitled to subrogation to the rights of other persons.

(5) The liens granted under this section shall secure amounts earned by the lien claimant as a result of his having furnished labor, materials, or rental equipment at the site of the improvement under the contract to improve real property, whether or not such amounts are due and whether or not performance or delivery is complete.

(6) A lien upon funds granted under this section is perfected upon the giving of notice in writing to the obligor as provided in G.S. 44A-19 and shall be effective upon the obligor’s receipt of the notice. The subrogation rights of a first, second, or third tier subcontractor to the lien of the contractor created by Part 1 of Article 2 of this Chapter are perfected as provided in G.S. 44A-23.

44A-19 Notice of Claim

(a) Notice of a claim of lien shall set forth:

(1) The name and address of the person claiming the lien,

(2) A general description of the real property improved,

(3) The name and address of the person with whom the lien claimant contracted to improve real property,

(4) The name and address of each person against or through whom subrogation rights are claimed,

(5) A general description of the contract and the person against whose interest the lien is claimed, and

(6) The amount claimed by the lien claimant under his contract.

(b) All notices of claims of liens by first, second or third tier subcontractors must be given using a form substantially as follows:

NOTICE OF CLAIM OF LIEN BY FIRST, SECOND OR THIRD TIER SUBCONTRACTOR

To:

1 _________________ owner of property involved. (Name and address)

2 _________________ general contractor. (Name and address)

3 _________________, first tier subcontractor against or through whom subrogation is claimed, if any.
(Name and address)

4 _________________, second tier subcontractor against or through whom subrogation is claimed, if any.
(Name and address)

General description of real property where labor performed or material furnished:_____________________

General description of undersigned lien claimant’s contract including the names of the parties thereto:_____________________

The amount of lien claimed pursuant to the above described contract:$__________

The undersigned lien claimant gives this notice of claim of lien pursuant to North Carolina law and claims all rights of subrogation to which he is entitled under Part 2 of Article 2 of Chapter 44A of the General Statutes of North Carolina.

Dated ___________________

________________________, Lien Claimant

________________________ (Address)

(c) All notices of claims of liens by subcontractors more remote than the third tier must be given using a form substantially as
follows:

NOTICE OF CLAIM OF LIEN BY SUBCONTRACTOR MORE REMOTE THAN THE THIRD TIER

To:

__________________, person holding funds against which lien is claimed.
(Name and Address)

General description of real property where labor performed or material furnished:____________________

General description of undersigned lien claimant’s contract including the names of the parties thereto:_____________________

The amount of lien claimed pursuant to the above described contract: $ ______

The undersigned lien claimant gives this notice of claim of lien pursuant to North Carolina law and claims all rights to which he is entitled under Part 2 of Article 2 of Chapter 44A of the General Statutes of North Carolina.

Dated: _______________, Lien Claimant ______________________

(Address)

(d) Notices under this section shall be served upon the obligor in person or by certified mail in any manner authorized by the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure. A copy of the notice shall be attached to any claim of lien filed pursuant to G.S. 44A-20(d).

44A-20 Duties of Obligor, Personal Liability, Indemnity, Lien Upon Real Property

(a) Upon receipt of the notice provided for in this Article the obligor shall be under a duty to retain any funds subject to the lien or liens under this Article up to the total amount of such liens as to which notice has been received.

(b) If, after the receipt of the notice to the obligor, the obligor shall make further payments to a contractor or subcontractor against whose interest the lien or liens are claimed, the lien shall continue upon the funds in the hands of the contractor or subcontractor who received the payment, and in addition the obligor shall be personally liable to the person or persons entitled to liens up to the amount of such wrongful payments, not exceeding the total claims with respect to which the notice was received prior to payment.

(c) If an obligor shall make a payment after receipt of notice and incur personal liability therefore, the obligor shall be entitled to reimbursement and indemnification from the party receiving such payment.

(d) If the obligor is an owner of the property being improved, the lien claimant shall be entitled to a lien upon the interest of the obligor in the real property to the extent of the owner’s personal liability under subsection (b), which lien shall be enforced only in the manner set forth in G.S. 44A-7 through 44A-16 and which lien shall be entitled to the same priorities and subject to the same filing requirements and periods of limitation applicable to the contractor. The lien is perfected as of the time set forth in G.S. 44A-10 upon filing of claim of lien pursuant to G.S. 44A-12. The claim of lien shall be in the form set out in G.S. 44A-12(c) and shall contain, in addition, a copy of the notice given pursuant to G.S. 44A-19 as an exhibit together with proof of service thereof by affidavit, and shall state the grounds the lien claimant has to believe that the obligor is personally liable for the debt under subsection (b).

44A-21 Prorata Payments

In the event that the funds in the hands of the obligor and the obligor’s personal liability, if any, under the previous section [G.S. 44A-20] are less than the amount of valid lien claims that have been filed with the obligor under this Article the parties entitled to liens shall share the funds on a pro rata basis.

44A-22 Priorities

Liens perfected under this Article have priority over all other interests or claims theretofore or thereafter created or suffered in the funds by the person against whose interest the lien is asserted, including, but not limited to, liens arising from garnishment, attachment, levy, judgment, assignments, security interests, and any other type of transfer, whether voluntary or involuntary. Any person who receives payment from an obligor in bad faith with knowledge of a claim of lien shall take such payment subject to the claim of lien.

44A-23 Subcontractors May Enforce the Lien of the Contractor, Procedure, Notice of Contract, Notice of Subcontract, Forms

(a) First tier subcontractor. – A first tier subcontractor, who gives notice as provided in this Article, may, to the extent of his claim, enforce the lien of the contractor created by Part 1 of Article 2 of this Chapter. The manner of such enforcement shall be as provided by G.S. 44A-7 through 44A-16. The lien is perfected as of the time set forth in G.S. 44A-10 upon filing of claim of lien pursuant to G.S. 44A-12. Upon the filing of the notice and claim of lien and the commencement of the action, no action of the contractor shall be effective to prejudice the rights of the subcontractor without his written consent.

(b) Second or third subcontractor. –

(1) A second or third tier subcontractor, who gives notice as provided in this Article, may, to the extent of his claim, enforce the lien of the contractor created by Part 1 of Article 2 of the Chapter except when:

a. The contractor, within 30 days following the date the building permit is issued for the improvement of the real property involved, posts on the property in a visible location adjacent to the posted building permit and files in the office of the Clerk of Superior Court in each county wherein the real property to be improved is located, a completed and signed Notice of Contract form and the second or third tier subcontractor fails to serve upon the contractor a completed and signed Notice of Subcontract form by the same means of service as described in G.S. 44A-19(d); or

b. After the posting and filing of a signed Notice of Contract and the service of a signed Notice of Subcontract, the contractor serves upon the second or third tier subcontractor, within five days following each subsequent payment, by the same means of service as described in G.S. 44A-19(d), the written notice of payment setting forth the date of payment and the period for which payment is made as requested in the Notice of Subcontract form set forth herein.

(2) The form of the Notice of Contract to be so utilized under this section shall be substantially as follows and the fee for filing the same with the Clerk of Superior Court shall be the same as charged for filing a Claim of Lien:

“NOTICE OF CONTRACT

“(1) Name and address of the Contractor:

“(2) Name and address of the owner of the real property at the time this Notice of Contract is recorded:

“(3) General description of the real property to be improved (street address, tax map lot and block number, reference to recorded instrument, or any other description that reasonably identifies the real property):

“(4) Name and address of the person, firm or corporation filing this Notice of Contract:

“Dated:______________________________

_____________________________________Contractor”

“Filed this the _____ day of _______, 20_____.

____________________________________ Clerk of Superior Court”

(3) The form of the Notice of Subcontract to be so utilized under this section shall be substantially as follows:

“NOTICE OF SUBCONTRACT

“(1) Name and address of the subcontractor:

“(2) General description of the real property where the labor was performed or the material was furnished (street address, tax map lot and block number, reference to recorded instrument, or any description that reasonably identifies the real property):

“(3) “(i) General description of the subcontractor’s contract, including the names of the parties thereto:

“(ii) General description of the labor and material performed and furnished thereunder: “(4) Request is hereby made by the undersigned subcontractor that he be notified in writing by the contractor of, and within five days following, each subsequent payment by the contractor to the first tier subcontractor for labor performed or material furnished at the improved real property within the above descriptions of such in paragraph (2) and subparagraph (3)(ii), respectively, the date payment was made and the period for which payment is made.

“Dated:______________________

_____________________________Subcontractor”

(4) The manner of such enforcement shall be as provided by G.S. 44A-7 through G.S. 44A-16. The lien is perfected as of the time set forth in G.S. 44A-10 upon the filing of a Claim of Lien pursuant to G.S. 44A-12. Upon the filing of the notice and claim of lien and the commencement of the action, no action of the contractor shall be effective to prejudice the rights of the second or third tier subcontractor without his written consent.(1971, c. 880, s. 1; 1985, c. 702, s. 4; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 1010, s. 1; 1993, c. 553, s. 13; 1997-456, s. 27; 1999-456, s. 59.)

PART 3 CRIMINAL SANCTIONS FOR FURNISHING A FALSE STATEMENT IN CONNECTION WITH IMPROVMENT TO REAL PROPERTY

44A-24. False statement a misdemeanor.

If any contractor or other person receiving payment from an obligor for an improvement to real property or from a purchaser for a conveyance of real property with improvements shall knowingly furnish to such obligor, purchaser, or to a lender who obtains a security interest in said real property, or to a title insurance company insuring title to such real property, a false written statement of the sums due or claimed to be due for labor or material furnished at the site of improvements to such real property, then such contractor, subcontractor or other person shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Upon conviction and in the event the court shall grant any defendant a suspended sentence, the court may in its discretion include as a condition of such suspension a provision that the defendant shall reimburse the party who suffered loss on such conditions as the court shall determine are proper. The elements of the offense herein stated are the furnishing of the false written statement with knowledge that it is false and the subsequent or simultaneous receipt of payment from an obligor or purchaser, and in any prosecution hereunder it shall not be necessary for the State to prove that the obligor, purchaser, lender or title insurance company relied upon the false statement or that any person was injured thereby. (1971, c. 880, s. 1.1; 1973, c. 991; 1993, c. 539, s. 406; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)

Article 3. Model Payment and Performance Bond.

44A-25. Definitions.

Unless the context otherwise requires in this Article: (1) “Claimant” includes any individual, firm, partnership, association or corporation entitled to maintain an action on a bond described in this Article and shall include the “contracting body” in a suit to enforce the performance bond.

(2) “Construction contract” means any contract for the construction, reconstruction, alteration or repair of any public building or other public work or public improvement, including highways.

(3) “Contracting body” means any department, agency, or political subdivision of the State of North Carolina which has authority to enter into construction contracts.

(4) “Contractor” means any person who has entered into a construction contract with a contracting body.

(5) “Labor or materials” shall include all materials furnished or labor performed in the prosecution of the work called for by the construction contract regardless of whether or not the labor or materials enter into or become a component part of the public improvement, and further shall include gas, power, light, heat, oil, gasoline, telephone services and rental of equipment or the reasonable value of the use of equipment directly utilized in the performance of the work called for in the construction contract.

(6) “Subcontractor” means any person who has contracted to furnish labor or materials to, or who has performed labor for, a contractor or another subcontractor in connection with a construction contract. (1973, c. 1194, s. 1.)

44A-26. Bonds required.

(a) When the total amount of construction contracts awarded for any one project exceeds three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000), a performance and payment bond as set forth in (1) and (2) is required by the contracting body from any contractor or construction manager at risk with a contract more than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000). In the discretion of the contracting body, a performance and payment bond may be required on any construction contract as follows:

(1) A performance bond in the amount of one hundred percent (100%) of the construction contract amount, conditioned upon the faithful performance of the contract in accordance with the plans, specifications and conditions of the contract. Such bond shall be solely for the protection of the contracting body that is constructing the project.

(2) A payment bond in the amount of one hundred percent (100%) of the construction contract amount, conditioned upon the prompt payment for all labor or materials for which a contractor or subcontractor is liable. The payment bond shall be solely for the protection of the persons furnishing materials or performing labor for which a contractor, subcontractor, or construction manager at risk is liable.

(b) The performance bond and the payment bond shall be executed by one or more surety companies legally authorized to do business in the State of North Carolina and shall become effective upon the awarding of the construction contract. (1973, c. 1194, s. 1; 1983, c. 818; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1108, s. 10; 1995, c. 367, s. 3; 2001-496, s. 7.)

44A-27. Actions on payment bonds; service of notice.

(a) Subject to the provision of subsection (b) hereof, any claimant who has performed labor or furnished materials in the prosecution of the work required by any contract for which a payment bond has been given pursuant to the provisions of this Article, and who has not been paid in full therefor before the expiration of 90 days after the day on which the claimant performed the last such labor or furnished the last such materials for which he claims payment, may bring an action on such payment bond in his own name, to recover any amount due him for such labor or materials and may prosecute such action to final judgment and have execution on the judgment.

(b) Any claimant who has a direct contractual relationship with any subcontractor but has no contractual relationship, express or implied, with the contractor may bring an action on the payment bond only if he has given written notice to the contractor within 120 days from the date on which the claimant performed the last of the labor or furnished the last of the materials for which he claims payment, stating with substantial accuracy the amount claimed and the name of the person for whom the work was performed or to whom the material was furnished.

(c) The notice required by subsection (b), above, shall be served by registered or certified mail, postage prepaid, in an envelope addressed to such contractor at any place where his office is regularly maintained for the transaction of business or served in any manner provided by law for the service of summons. (1973, c. 1194, s. 1; 1987, c. 569; 2001-177, s. 1; 2001-487, s. 100.)

44A-28. Actions on payment bonds; venue and limitations.

(a) Every action on a payment bond as provided in G.S. 44A- 27 shall be brought in a court of appropriate jurisdiction in a county where the construction contract or any part thereof is to be or has been performed.

(b) No action on a payment bond shall be commenced after the expiration of the longer period of one year from the day on which the last of the labor was performed or material was furnished by the claimant, or one year from the day on which final settlement was made with the contractor. (1973, c. 1194, s. 1.)

44A-29. Limitation of liability of a surety.

No surety shall be liable under a payment bond for a total amount greater than the face amount of the payment bond. A judgment against any surety may be reduced or set aside upon motion by the surety and a showing that the total amount of claims paid and judgments previously rendered under such payment bond, together with the amount of the judgment to be reduced or set aside, exceeds the face amount of the bond. (1973, c. 1194, s. 1.)

44A-30. Variance of liability; contents of bond.

(a) No act of or agreement between a contracting body, a contractor or a surety shall reduce the period of time for giving notice under G.S. 44A-27(b) or commencing action under G.S. 44A-28(b) or otherwise reduce or limit the liability of the contractor or surety as prescribed in this Article.

(b) Every bond given by a contractor to a contracting body pursuant to this Article shall be conclusively presumed to have been given in accordance herewith, whether or not such bond be so drawn as to conform to this Article. This Article shall be conclusively presumed to have been written into every bond given pursuant thereto. (1973, c. 1194, s. 1.)

44A-31. Certified copy of bond and contract.

(a) Any person entitled to bring an action or any defendant in an action on a payment bond shall have a right to require the contracting body to certify and furnish a copy of the payment bond and of the construction contract covered by the bond. It shall be the duty of such contracting body to give any such person a certified copy of the payment bond and the construction contract upon not less than 10 days’ notice and request. The contracting body may require a reasonable payment for the actual cost of furnishing the certified copy.

(b) A copy of any payment bond and of the construction contract covered by the bond certified by the contracting body shall constitute prima facie evidence of the contents, execution and delivery of such bond and construction contract. (1973, c. 1194, s. 1.)

44A-32. Designation of official; violation a misdemeanor.

Each contracting body shall designate an official thereof to require the bonds described by this Article. If the official so designated shall fail to require said bond, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. (1973, c. 1194, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, s. 407; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)

44A-33. Form.

(a) A performance bond form containing the following provisions shall comply with this Article: the date the bond is executed; the name of the principal; the name of the surety; the name of the contracting body; the amount of the bond; the contract number; and the following conditions:

“KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS, That we, the PRINCIPAL AND SURETY above named, are held and firmly bound unto the above named Contracting Body, hereinafter called the Contracting Body, in the penal sum of the amount stated above for the payment of which sum well and truly to be made, we bind ourselves, our heirs, executors, administrators, and successors, jointly and severally, firmly by these presents.

“THE CONDITION OF THIS OBLIGATION IS SUCH, that whereas the Principal entered into a certain contract with the Contracting Body, numbered as shown above and hereto attached:

“NOW THEREFORE, if the Principal shall well and truly perform and fulfill all the undertakings, covenants, terms, conditions, and agreements of said contract during the original term of said contract and any extensions thereof that may be granted by the Contracting Body, with or without notice to the Surety, and during the life of any guaranty required under the contract, and shall also well and truly perform and fulfill all the undertakings, covenants, terms, conditions, and agreements of any and all duly authorized modifications of said contract that may hereafter be made, notice of which modifications to the Surety being hereby waived, then, this obligation to be void; otherwise to remain in full force and virtue.

“IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the above-bounden parties have executed this instrument under their several seals on the date indicated above, the name and corporate seal of each corporate party being hereto affixed and these presents duly signed by its undersigned representative, pursuant to authority of its governing body.”

Appropriate places for execution by the surety and principal shall be provided.

(b) A payment bond form containing the following provisions shall comply with this Article: the date the bond is executed; the name of the principal; the name of the surety; the name of the contracting body; the contract number; and the following conditions:

“KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS, That we, the PRINCIPAL and SURETY above named, are held and firmly bound unto the above named Contracting Body, hereinafter called the Contracting Body, in the penal sum of the amount stated above, for the payment of which sum well and truly to be made, we bind ourselves, our heirs, executors, administrators, and successors, jointly and severally, firmly by these presents.

“THE CONDITION OF THIS OBLIGATION IS SUCH, that whereas the Principal entered into a certain contract with the Contracting Body, numbered as shown above and hereto attached;

“NOW THEREFORE, if the Principal shall promptly make payment to all persons supplying labor and material in the prosecution of the work provided for in said contract, and any and all duly authorized modifications of said contract that may hereafter be made, notice of which modifications to the Surety being hereby waived, then this obligation to be void; otherwise to remain in full force and virtue.

“IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the above-bounden parties have executed this instrument under their several seals on the date indicated above, the name and corporate seal of each corporate party being hereto affixed and these presents duly signed by its undersigned representative, pursuant to authority of its governing body.”

Appropriate places for execution by the surety and principal shall be provided. (1973, c. 1194, s. 1.)

44A-34. Construction of Article.

The addition of this Article shall not be construed as making the provisions of Articles 1 and 2 of Chapter 44A of the General Statutes apply to public bodies or public buildings. (1973, c. 1194, s. 3.)

44A-35. Attorneys’ fees.

In any suit brought or defended under the provisions of Article 2 or Article 3 of this Chapter, the presiding judge may allow a reasonable attorneys’ fee to the attorney representing the prevailing party. This attorneys’ fee is to be taxed as part of the court costs and be payable by the losing party upon a finding that there was an unreasonable refusal by the losing party to fully resolve the matter which constituted the basis of the suit or the basis of the defense. For purposes of this section, “prevailing party” is a party plaintiff or third party plaintiff who obtains a judgment of at least fifty percent (50%) of the monetary amount sought in a claim or is a party defendant or third party defendant against whom a claim is asserted which results in a judgment of less than fifty percent (50%) of the amount sought in the claim defended. Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event an offer of judgment is served in accordance with G.S. 1A-1, Rule 68, a “prevailing party” is an offeree who obtains judgment in an amount more favorable than the last offer or is an offeror against whom judgment is rendered in an amount less favorable than the last offer. (1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 1010, s. 3; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 763, s. 1.)

44A-36 through 44A-39. Reserved for future codification purposes.