Contractors & suppliers have strong lien rights in Kansas. If a contractor or supplier isn’t paid on an Kansas job, they can turn to filing a lien to speed up payment and protect themselves. However, there are specific requirements and rules that must be followed. Here are 5 essential things you need to know about Kansas’s mechanics lien law.
1) Who Is Entitled to Mechanics Lien Rights?
In Kansas, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers to contractors and subcontractors are entitled to mechanics lien rights. It’s important to note, however, that in order for a supplier to have rights, the materials must actually be used on the project; mere delivery does not count. And, as for architects and engineers (and other design professionals), the project must actually commence. If professional services are performed, but the project never actually commences, the design professional does not have lien rights.
Parties not entitled to file a mechanics lien in Kansas are sub-subcontractors (3rd tier participants), suppliers to suppliers and any employees of the general contractor or sub-contractor.
2) The Deadline to File a Kansas Mechanics Lien is Generally 3-4 Months
A general contractor has 4 months from the date in which services or materials were last provided on a project. A sub-contractor (not in direct contact with the property owner) has 3 months from the date in which services or materials were last provided on a project.
For both types of contractors and on commercial projects only, an extension can be filed with the county’s district court. If the extension is properly filed, and mailed to the property owner by both certified and regular mail, it allows the project participant to file his mechanics lien within 5 months from the date of last furnishing labor and/or materials to the project (1 month extension for general contractors, 2 months for subs).
3) Sub-contractors That Have Participated in Residential Projects Must Send Preliminary Notice
Notice is not required for general contractors. It is also never required on non-residential properties.
Sub-contractors, laborers, and suppliers, on the other hand, are required to provide preliminary notice. If the project is an alteration or repair to an existing property, the project participant must send the owner a Warning Statement. Construction on a new project requires the project participant to send a Notice of Intent to Perform. Failure to send these notices in a timely manner will result in the invalidity of the lien.
4) A Valid Description is Important to a Kansas Mechanics Lien
While a legal description of the property is not technically required, Kansas courts have been becoming more and more strict on what constitutes a valid description of the property for the purposes of a mechanics lien. The easiest way to comply with the requirement that the description “enable a person familiar with the locality to identify the premises with reasonable certainty, to the exclusion of others” is to provide the legal description of the property.
5) Kansas Mechanics Liens Have Priority Based on the Project Commencement
Kansas mechanics liens have priority over liens or other encumbrances arising after work commences on the project giving rise to the mechanics lien claim. However, the priority does not relate back to the beginning of the project as a whole, but rather to the earliest date work was commenced by a lien claimant with an unsatisfied lien. Among competing mechanics liens, if the sale of the property does not provide enough money to satisfy all mechanics liens fully, they will be paid in proportion of the amount due each – there is no priority between mechanics liens.
For subs, a notice may be required before filing a lien