Mechanics lien laws can be strict. Very strict. Small errors, typos, and barely-missed deadlines regularly invalidate claims. Some states are tougher than others, but on the whole, lien laws are strictly construed. The laws surrounding Kentucky mechanics liens have proven tougher than most (although, the state didn’t make the cut for our “8 States With The Toughest Lien Notice Laws” post).
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Kentucky Mechanics Liens
Lien rights are available to a wide number of potential claimants in Kentucky, but their requirements are strict. A Kentucky lien must be filed within 6 months, and failure to send notice that the lien was filed will spell trouble. After filing, a claimant has 12 months from that date to enforce the lien. Being even one day late could prove fatal.
Check out our Kentucky Lien and Notice FAQs.
“Subscribed and Sworn To”
Strict procedural requirements and deadlines are present with Kentucky mechanics liens, and claimants don’t catch a break on form, either. A recent case reiterated a requirement for Kentucky lien claims: if the claimant does not subscribe and swear to the truth of their lien claim, the claim will be tossed aside. Kentucky courts take this very literally.
In a recent case, Prodigy Construction v. Brown Capital and Noltemeyer Capital, Prodigy did not include “subscribed and sworn to” language. Well, not explicitly. Prodigy argued that the use of the phrase “in testimony thereof” was sufficient. The court disagreed.
Prodigy also claimed that, pursuant to the Kentucky Rules of Civil Procedure, an affidavit only need be sworn to or affirmed before an authorized officer (in this case, a notary). The court, however, found that the Kentucky mechanics lien statute controlled rather than the state’s civil procedure rules. The lien statute states: “This statement shall be subscribed and sworn to by the person claiming the lien or by someone in his behalf.” So, while Prodigy’s claim was (probably) notarized, affirmed, and the phrase “in testimony thereof” was present, the lien was still tossed aside.
The court could have been more clear as to what the “subscribed and sworn to” language requires. Unfortunately, the decision says nothing about notarization or taking an oath, so it’s hard to take much away from this case. Well, other than to play it as safe as possible when a lien is on the line. When filing a Kentucky lien, your best bet is to make sure it’s notarized and that it’s “subscribed and sworn to.” Kentucky courts have been wrong before, but for the sake of your lien, it’s best to just go ahead and use that language.