Chapter 254, Section 4 is hereby amended by adding at the end thereof the following new text:
With respect to any construction project containing or designed to contain one but not more than four dwelling units, if the person claiming a lien under this section, has a direct contractual relationship with the original contractor but no direct contractual relationship with the owner, except for liens for labor by persons defined in section 1of this chapter, the amount of such lien shall not exceed the amount due or to become due under the original contract between the original owner and the original contractor as of the date such person files his notice of contract and gives actual notice to the owner of such filing, unless the person claiming such lien has, within thirty days of commencement of his performance, given written notice of identification by certified mail return receipt requested to the owner in substantially the following form:
Notice of Identification
Notice is hereby given to _________________, as owner, that _______________ , as subcontractor/vendor/design professional, has entered into a written contract with ______________to furnish labor or materials, or labor and materials, or rental equipment, appliances or tools to, or to perform professional services for a certain construction project located at ___ (Street Address), ___ (Town or City), Massachusetts. The amount or estimated amount of said contract is $ _________. (No amount need be stated for contracts for the rental of equipment, appliances or tools).
This notice is to advise you of your rights under Massachusetts law in connection with the improvement to your property. If we are not paid by your contractor, we can file a lien against your property for the price of our labor or materials. You have the right to pay us directly and deduct this amount from the contract price, or withhold the amounts due from your contractor until 90 days after completion of the improvement unless your contractor gives you a lien waiver signed by me (us).
The amount stated in any such notice of identification shall not limit the amount of the lien. Any inaccuracy in the naming of the contractor or other information in such notice shall not affect its validity provided there shall be actual notice.
If said notice of identification is given by the person claiming the lien to the owner, the amount of the lien shall not exceed the amount due or to become due under the original contract as of the date the owner receives the notice of identification.
Any person asserting that a lien under this section exceeds the amount due or to become due as defined in section 2A, whether under the original contract or a subcontract, shall have the burden of proving the amount due or to become due.
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