Do you work in construction and want to have a builder's lien entered in the land register?
If you work in construction and have worked on a house, you install work and material, which results in added value for that property. However, if you are not paid, you cannot take back the work rendered. In this case, there is the option of hedging the payment of work and material costs: A builder’s lien. This way, non-payment of outstanding bills can result in an entry in the land register, which then secures your claims. Special rules apply if it concerns state property. Here, we explain the legal situation regarding privately owned property.
Who can have a builder’s lien entered in the land register?
The deciding factor is the work performed (construction work) and not the name or occupational qualification. The tradesperson must have delivered or rendered the material and work or work alone to the buildings or other construction work on the property (the delivery of material in itself is only enough if it regards material produced solely for the construction in question).
Can I, as an employed worker, have an entry made?
No, only a self-employed worker or the employing company itself can do so.
What type of work does this relate to?
In particular, work on buildings (houses), other work (streets, paths), demolition work, scaffolding, securing of excavations, or the like can be considered.
Is it only possible to have claims against the property owner entered?
No. Debtors can also be tradespeople, companies, tenants, leaseholders, or others involved with the property. If a tenant, leaseholder, or another person entitled to the property is the debtor of the claims arising from the work and services contract, then the claim exists only if the property owner has granted their consent to the execution of work.
Which deadlines do I have to meet?
The entry must be made by four months after completion of the work at the latest. Note: The entry must be in the land register by then, not just submitted! However, a provisional entry also suffices (see below for more information).
When is the work considered completed?
This point in time is often a contentious issue. Improvement work or other minor, ancillary work is no longer included (e.g. subsequent installment of a pull-out shelf for pans and bottles in a fitted kitchen). On the other hand, minor work that is essential for the functioning of a finished product is part of the completion. It always depends on the qualitative characteristic (what was made?) and less on the quantitative characteristics (how much was made?).
What applies in the case of multiple work and services contracts?
In general, a separate deadline applies for each contract. However, if as part of a work and services contract another contract was concluded for additional work (referred to as order changes), and if the work forms one unit, then there is one joint deadline for all work.
What if the property owner has already issued me a bank guarantee for the claim?
In this case, no entry can be made. A prerequisite for requesting an entry is that the property owner has not made an equivalent guarantee elsewhere.
What if the property owner contests the claim?
The request for an entry must either be acknowledged by the property owner or established by the court. Usually, a court must establish the existence of the claim, and this can take time.
How can I still submit an entry within a reasonable period of time?
By applying for a provisional entry with the court at the location of the property. In these “provisional” proceedings, you only have to show that the claim is credible, in other words, you don’t yet have to provide definitive proof. After the provisional entry, the claim must be definitely established by the court during “normal” proceedings to make the entry definitive.
Will I receive my fee in the process?
No. However, with the entry you have entered your claim as a builder’s lien. If the property owner does not pay the claim, you can demand realization of the pledge. In other words: The property is sold and all pledge holders receive their share if the proceeds suffice to do so.
You can find additional information and a template for applying for a provisional entry in the document attached.