5 essential things to know about Oklahoma mechanics liens
Contractors & suppliers have strong lien rights in Oklahoma. If a contractor or supplier isn’t paid on an Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma’s mechanics lien law.
Oklahoma mechanics lien rights are restricted for some
Any project participant who provides labor or materials for the improvement of a property can file a mechanics lien in Oklahoma. This means that landscapers, surveyors, architects, engineers, and construction managers all have the right to lien. While equipment lessors do have lien rights, they are limited to whether or not a property is being used for agricultural purposes, or qualifies for “homestead exemption.” For engineers and architects to have rights, there must be an improvement to the property–they do not have rights if the project does not commence.
The deadline to file a mechanics lien depends
The deadline to file a mechanics lien in Oklahoma depends on the role of the project participant. General contractors directly in contact with the owner have 4 months after the last date of providing services or materials. Sub-contractors on the other hand, only have 90 days from last providing services or materials on a project.
After the lien is filed, a notice of its record must be sent to the property owner within 5 days via certified mail with receipt requested. This is to be accomplished by the county clerk, but even so, it is likely advisable for the lien claimant to send the property owner notice, as well.
Subcontractors need to send preliminary notice
Subcontractors who are not in contact with the property owner are required to send preliminary notice in the instance that the property is owner-occupied or if the project is non-residential and the project participant is claiming over $10,000. The notice must be given to the general contractor and property owner. On a residential (single or multi-family) unoccupied property, notice is not required.
It’s unclear whether or not general contractors need to provide preliminary notice to the property owner, but it is advisable to give notice anyway.
Oklahoma Subs and Suppliers are required to send a Preliminary Notice before filing a Mechanics Lien
A legal property description is required
Oklahoma requires that a legal property description is included in the lien. The lien must also be notarized and verified by affidavit.
Laborer's mechanics liens have priority over construction lenders
Mechanics liens in Oklahoma don’t typically have priority over existing mortgages and construction loans. However, a labors mechanics lien does have priority over of a construction loan in all cases. They also take first priority against competing mechanics liens. All other mechanics liens have equal priority.