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It’s always a good idea to keep informed of lien deadlines and not wait until the last minute to file. Even though giving the property owner a bit more time to pay you, or to put pressure on the contractor who owes you money, may sometimes enable you to get paid without needing to go through the trouble of filing your lien, that is far outweighed by the risk and consequences of missing the deadline. Even though you should always be wary of any approaching deadline, special attention should be paid at this time of year, for multiple reasons.
Holidays Can Play Havoc With Lien Deadlines
If the post office and other delivery services like Federal Express are closed, it will delay the process of getting your lien to the proper recording office. While the “big” fall and winter holidays are behind us, that can make it even more problematic for a lien claimant. Everybody expects the post office and county offices to be closed on Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or New Years Day, but it is harder to remember that offices can be closed for holidays that are not as widely remembered or observed. For example, many offices throughout the country were recently closed for President’s Day, and companies who do not routinely do business in Louisiana may not be aware that many offices are shut down for several days around Mardi Gras. If the post office and other delivery services like Federal Express are closed, it will delay the process of getting your lien to the proper recording office. And, if the recording office is closed, anyway, your lien will not get recorded until the next day, at the earliest. And that means one less day until the deadline to file passes.
Another wrinkle to keep in mind is that if the deadline to file falls on a weekend or holiday, whether the deadline moves forward or back depends on the rules of the state in which the project took place. While many states allow the deadline to fall to the next day the recorder is open, some states, like Texas, require the document to be filed prior to the original deadline.
Inclement Weather May Be Unpredictable – But Lien Deadlines Don’t Care
This winter has been full of severe and debilitating weather, and it has taken a toll on normal delivery schedules and operating hours. More than ever, there is no definite prediction of when your lien will arrive at the county clerk, or if they will be open when it does. Even locations that normally aren’t forced to deal with this situation have been shut down recently due to snow and ice. Imagine if a lien claimant had waited until the last minute to file a lien for a construction project in Atlanta, last week. Long story short, that lien claimant is probably not filing a valid lien.
It is also worth noting, that many states require service of the lien upon the property owner or tenant within a certain amount of time from the date on which the lien was recorded (or even prior to the date on which the lien was recored). Since the failure to serve the lien within the available time period will also invalidate that lien, it is another factor to consider in determining when a lien should be filed.
Don’t let the winter weather affect your mechanics lien deadline, and ultimately, the payment of the money you have earned. Beat the clock and file your lien early; don’t wait until the last minute to send out your lien, or you may be left with no lien rights, and a smaller chance of getting paid.
Free Payment Rights Advisor Tool from levelset
One of the most important questions about lien rights concerns whether a potential claimant even has the right to file a lien in the first place. What happens if filing a mechanics lien isn’t an option? What are some other actions to take when you’re having a payment issue? We have a free tool that will help you with these questions. It’s called the Payment Rights Advisor. It only takes a couple of minutes — just answer 5 quick questions about your job, and the Payment Rights Advisor will give you all of your best options, including whether or not you qualify for mechanics lien rights.