5 essential things to know about Utah mechanics liens
Contractors & suppliers have strong lien rights in Utah. If a contractor or supplier isn’t paid on an Utah 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 Utah’s mechanics lien law.
Most contractors and suppliers can file a Utah mechanics lien
In Utah, contractors, subcontractors and any project participants that have provided services or materials to improve property have mechanics lien rights. This includes equipment lessors and design professionals. Suppliers to suppliers also have lien rights, as long as the materials supplied can be traced back to the actual project.
There are two types of mechanics liens that one can file in Utah: a preconstruction lien and a construction lien. Which you should file depends on when you performed work.
Utah contractors may get paid with a Notice of Intent to Lien without needing a Mechanics Lien
Preconstruction liens and construction liens have different filing deadlines
Parties that have provided services prior to actual construction — this usually includes architects and other design professionals — must file a Notice of Preconstruction Lien within 90 days from the date their services or materials were last provided.
For parties that have provided construction services, a Notice of Construction Lien is due within 90 days from the last date services or materials were provided, or within 180 days after the completion of the original contract. (If the owner or owner’s agent files a Notice of Completion, the deadline to file a Notice of Construction Lien is 90 days after the Notice of Completion was filed.)
There is some disagreement as to whether a construction lien is valid if filed after 180 days from the completion of the original contract, but still within 90 days from the filing of a Notice of Completion.
Both liens require preliminary notice (but different notices)
Preliminary notice must be filed at the State Construction Registry.
Project participants filing a preconstruction lien need to send a Notice of Retention no later than 20 days after preconstruction begins. Project participants filing a construction lien need to send a preliminary notice no later than 20 days from the first date of providing labor or materials on a project.
Note that under Utah mechanics lien law, a preliminary notice can under no circumstances be sent later than 10 days after a Notice of Completion is filed. In the instance of a preconstruction lien, failure to adhere to the 20-day deadline will result in the loss of lien rights. Construction liens in Utah have a little bit more leniency. If the notice is filed late, lien rights will begin 5 days prior to the date preliminary notice is sent.
The lien must be recorded with the county and sent to the owner
Both types of construction mechanics liens in Utah need to be recorded at the county recorder’s office in the county in which the property is located. After this step is completed, a project participant has 30 days to then send notice to the property owner via certified mail with return receipt requested.
Bankruptcy can determine how long the lien is effective
A project participant must take action on a lien within 180 days after filing. If the property owner has gone bankrupt, a project participant can only have 90 days in which they must take action. Additionally, a project participant must also record a lis pendens the county recorder in the county where the lien was recorded.