5 essential things to know in Wisconsin
Contractors & suppliers have strong lien rights in Wisconsin. If a contractor or supplier isn’t paid on an Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin’s mechanics lien law.
Project participants have Wisconsin mechanics lien rights regardless of tier
Any party who furnishes labor or materials, in the erection, alteration, repair, or improvement of a building or structure has mechanics lien rights in Wisconsin. A party’s tier does not matter (i.e. sub-subcontractors have lien rights), and design professionals (architects, engineers), surveyors, and construction managers have lien rights if visible construction is started on the project at some point.
There are two different deadlines to consider when filing a Wisconsin mechanics lien
The deadline to file a mechanics lien for all parties in Wisconsin is within 6 months of the last date labor or materials were furnished. However, it must also be at least 30 days after the Notice of Intention to Claim a Lien is filed. The filing of a Notice of Intention to Claim a Lien does not extend the period in which a Wisconsin mechanics lien may be filed, so it is important to send that notice at least 30 days prior to the 6-month time period elapsing.
All parties are required to file preliminary notice
Preliminary Notice and a Notice of Intent to Lien are required by all parties in Wisconsin. General contractors must either provide notice to the owner in the contract, or within 10 days of the date labor and materials were first delivered. Subcontractors and material suppliers must deliver a preliminary notice within 60 days of the date labor or materials were first furnished. While it may not be a requirement to deliver preliminary notice on commercial projects, it never hurts to do so. The Notice of Intent to File a Claim of Lien is required by all parties who intend to file a lien. This notice must be delivered at least 30 days prior to filing the lien (and the deadline to file a lien is 6 months form the last date of furnishing labor or materials to a project).
Wisconsin mechanics lien law requires a legal property description
In many states, a legal description of the property is not required to be included on the Claim of Lien, rather just a description sufficient to accurately describe the property. In Wisconsin however, the legal property description is required to be included on the mechanics lien.
Additional fees are not allowed to be included in a Wisconsin mechanics lien
Attorney’s fees, lost profits, and other consequential or indirect damages are not generally allowed to be included in the amount of the lien in Wisconsin.