The impending arrival of the Memorial Day Holiday is a good time to discuss the challenges that construction companies face when trying to accurately calculate their lien and notice deadlines. Moreover, it’s an excellent time to remind people in the industry of the very important role that deadlines play in lien rights management.
In most states, the lien process involves four steps: 1) Send a Preliminary Notice; 2) Send a Notice of Intent (NOI); 3) File a Mechanics Lien; 4) Enforce the Lien (“enforce” means to file a lawsuit to force the payment that’s specified in the lien claim). In most cases, there are strict deadlines for performing each of these steps that cannot be missed for any reason whatsoever. All it takes is one missed deadline – sending a required notice or filing a lien after a deadline has passed – to potentially invalidate your mechanics lien claim, permanently.
Deadline Requirements Depend on the State
Getting back to the question posed in the title of this article – like so many other issues having to do with lien rights management – the answer is, “it depends on the state.”
While we don’t have room in this article to answer the question specifically for every state (though we do have lien and notice resources and FAQs for all 50 states available for free on the levelset website), we’ll use one state – Florida – to demonstrate how legal holidays can affect lien and notice deadlines:
In Florida, the deadline to file a mechanics lien is 90 days from the date that materials or labor were last furnished to a project.
Q: What happens if the 90th day falls on Memorial Day (or any other legal holiday)?
A: In Florida, if the 90th day falls on a Florida-recognized, legal holiday (when the courts, state, and county government offices are closed), or on a Saturday or Sunday, you have until close of the following business (or court) day to file the lien.
But remember: lien and notice requirements, including the rules around deadlines and holidays, vary from state to state! Just because Florida handles holidays (and the entire lien rights process) according to Florida state laws, that doesn’t mean your state will do it the same way! In fact, in some states the filing deadline doesn’t get pushed back due to a holiday or weekend, it gets pushed up to the last business day before. The responsibility is on you to find out how your state handles it.
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.