Posts Tagged ‘Lien Content’

Louisiana Suppliers – Extra Notice Needed for Lien Rights

Over the past holiday season, I was at a Christmas party discussing with a friend of mine who runs an electrical supply company here in South Louisiana, the intricacies of notice provisions before a company like his can file a lien on a private project. Others party-goers probably thought our conversation boring, but we were intrigued. This conversation got me thinking that I should report to the supply world what my friend did not understand…

Here at the Wolfe Law Group we love liens. We file them for clients and recommend them to all others out there as a tool to preserve rights if, and often when, funds dry up and you are not paid on a construction project. Part of the privileged class under the Louisiana Private Works Act (La R.S. 9:4801 et al), are suppliers.

There are two types of suppliers protected under this act. Suppliers who lease equipment to contractors (“Lessors”) and suppliers who provide the materials to be used in the project (“Suppliers”).

EQUIPMENT RENTAL (see La R.S. Art. 9:4802(G)(1))

For Lessors, these companies need to deliver a copy of the lease agreement to the property owner and contractor within ten (10) days of when the leased equipment is delivered to the site. This notice is required as in most states to put all relevant parties on notice of potential future claims. So for companies who deliver equipment to job-sites as a rental, it is PARAMOUNT that you send out this notice so that you can file a valid lien after not getting paid. Then with your properly filed lien you can go after the party you have a lease agreement with and the property owner, general contractor and as a last resort you can foreclose on the property! Very strong rights indeed.

MATERIAL SUPPLIERS (see La R.S. Art. 9:4802(G)(2-3))

Next, for supply houses, such as plumbing materials, and electrical supplies – these companies also need to send out a notice to the property owner and the general contractor after delivery of goods. The Supplier needs to send notice of non-payment to the owner at least ten (10) days before filing a lien. Notice needs to be sent by certified mail return receipt and needs to have the name, address of the Supplier, description of materials provided, description of the property and the total amount owed, plus interest and fees. Also the Supplier needs to put the hiring party, general contractor and owner on notice of the items list above within seventy-five (75) days of the last month that the materials were delivered to the project via certified mail return receipt – or no later that then lien period. Strategically it may be best to send out one notice after the goods are delivered to all the parties above with the required information, just to preserve the right to file your lien.

These notice provisions can be tedious and if not followed to the letter of the law, will result in an invalid lien. The notice practice should become a staple in the administration of the aforementioned types of companies.  My office constantly invalidates liens that were not filed correctly. We also file a number of notices and liens which are filed correctly. General contractors and owners pay lien holders typically first because of the added security.

Bottom line – all of the successful rental and supply companies have these notice mechanisms in place. If you are a company who plans on competing in this arena, then following notice laws is always a smart plan.

Other resources on the topic: Zlien.com, reasestatelawyers.com, levy-law.com,

Posted in:     Construction News, Filing Requirements, Louisiana, Mechanics Lien  /  Tags: , , , , , , ,   /   Leave a comment

What Costs Can I Include in a Mechanics Lien?

I practice law, and focus on construction law, in the states of Washington, Oregon and Louisiana. Whenever folks are looking to put together a mechanics lien, this is a question that is very frequently asked. (Previously wrote about it here).

While the question seems quite simple, it’s actually a bit complicated. And it’s a very sensitive question to boot. The answer differs depending on which state’s law applies, and some states are more sensitive to the topic than others. In some states, if the lien amount is listed incorrectly, or includes costs not allowed under law, it could invalidate the entire lien.

In other words, tread very carefully.

So, what is this question asking anyway? Well, folks are typically looking to include two different costs into the amount of its lien. First, the cost of filing the lien itself. This may be the cost of an attorney, the filing fees with the county, or the cost of our service ($295). Second is charged interest on the unpaid account. Sometimes this is the state’s judicial interest, or interest allowed by contract.

Let me make something very clear: This is an extraordinarily complicated question to answer on a general basis. You should consult with an attorney to figure out exactly what costs you can and should and may include in your lien.

However, let me take a crack at trying to answer this question generally.

In Louisiana, Washington and Oregon, if someone wants a general rule, I always advise my clients to simply file the lien for the amount that is due under the contract, without any of the extras. I advise this unless there is specific circumstances and law that allow them to do the contrary, and they know the law. I advise this simply in an abundance of caution for these two reasons:

1) If you include it (the extra costs), and you cannot include it, it could invalidate the lien; and

2) if you do not include, it doesn’t mean you can’t collect it. It just means its not part of your lien, and you don’t have the lien against those particular funds (you still have any legal or contractual right to it).

This article was originally posted on Express Lien’s topic-specific Construction Lien Blog.

Posted in:     Filing Requirements  /  Tags: , ,   /   Leave a comment

What Costs / Labor To Include In Your Lien?

It’s been an interesting week on the web as it relates to mechanic’s liens, as I’ve run across a number of web posts about the types of services that can be included in a lien.

Let’s look at the matter theoretically.   Construction lien laws are normally drafted to protect contractors, who invest labor and expense into the improvement of a property.  However, since the laws also balance the property rights of persons or organizations, each state certainly does something to qualify what types of labor and expense can be represented in a lien, and which cannot.

The question here, therefore, is quite simple:   have you performed work or provided materials that can be the subject of a lien?

It’s one of the most important questions a contractor or supplier can ask when determining how to best collect on a non-paying account or project.   If you work does not qualify for a lien, for example, there is no need to even consider if notice is required and other lien filing requirements.

It’s important to consult the laws or your particular state to determine what type of materials and labor can be the subject of a lien, and which cannot.  However, two recently decided cases in Virginia and Kentucky are revealing of some general principals that are followed by most states.  The principal is essentially this:  you can only lien for labor and materials that actually go into improving the property.

What does this exclude?

In Virginia, Virginia Lawyers Weekly reports that a Hanover County Circuit Court invalidated a mechanic’s lien filed by a contractor that incurred costs in anticipation of construction of a steel building, but did not provide labor or materials actually employed in construction of the building.

The case is captioned Dallan Construction Co. v. Super Structures General Contractors, Inc, and can be downloaded here.

Similarly, in Kentucky, the Kentucky Court of Appeals held that “mowing, trimming, edging and street cleaning” did not “permanently improve the property,” and therefore, a mechanics lien was not allowed to be filed for the services provided.  That case is discussed at the South Carolina Community Association Law Blog, and is captioned Steeplechase Subdivision Homeowners Association, Inc. v. Thomas, Ky. Ct. App. 2008.

Posted in:     Filing Requirements, Mechanics Lien  /  Tags: , , , , , , , ,   /   2 Comments

Caution: Lien Laws in are Hyper-Technical

In most states, the liens laws are hyper-technical.   This means that the laws have many requirements, and that courts strictly construe the rules against the party filing construction liens.

This is true for nearly every state.

While laws across the nation provide lien rights to those in the construction industry, because of the power of these instruments most states require that the liens be filed in exact accordance with the law to be valid.

This is especially the case with regard to the required contents of a lien.

Each state has different requirements for what must be stated within a mechanic’s lien, and how that information must be stated.

Every state, for example, will require the claimant to identify the property being liened.  In Louisiana, Washington, and Virginia, however, the law requires that the lien use the legal property description and not simply a municipal address.   The proper identification of property can be so important we’ve written an entire blog post about it here.

In Virginia, the laws are even stricter.   Because the Virginia lien law is land record based, the claimant is expected to perform a complete title search to acquire the exact legal owner and legal property description.   A lien that does not lien the exact owner, at the exact property for the exact amount due, can be deemed invalid by courts.

Zlien does this leg work for your company, helping your company properly prepare these important legal forms.   Our professional legal document preparers are familiar with the lien and notice forms in your state, and can help your company Lien Smarter.

Posted in:     Louisiana, Mechanics Lien, Washington  /  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,   /   1 Comment

Be Careful When Using Free Legal Forms

Gerard Simington with “FindAnAttorneyForMe.com” published an informative article that warns businesses about using free legal forms found on the internet.

The Internet has placed legal information and legal forms at our fingertips – and its easy to forget sometimes that the law is a very complicated subject, and legal forms are no exception.  While a legal form may seem simple on its face, the blanks can carry significant legal consequences.

It’s always great to hire an attorney to draft legal documents from scratch, or to “tweak” legal forms to fit your particular need.   The costs associated with legal counsel, however, are simply sometimes out of your business’ reach.

Legal Document preparation services like Express Lien are perfect for these situations.  Our staffs of professionals are familiar with the forms that relate to your construction project, and we can help you draft & file your forms properly and avoid costly mistakes.

Posted in:     Construction News  /  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   /   1 Comment