This guest post comes from friend of the blog, Robert Wise, a construction law attorney in Mississippi (Sharpe & Wise PLLC). Robert was influential in the drafting and passing of Mississippi’s 2014 mechanics lien law re-write, which made substantial changes to the state’s mechanics lien scheme. As this article title indicates, this post provides 4 key important things that Subcontractors & Material Suppliers — who previously did not have traditional notice requirements or lien rights in the state – must know to get protection under the new law. This is part of a series of 3 articles about the Mississippi Lien Law Changes written by Robert Wise that will appear on this blog. Read them all here.
1) Mississippi Subcontractors and Materialmen on Commercial and Multi-Family Jobs (But Not Single-Family) Must Send a NOTICE OF COMMENCEMENT Within 30 Days After First Delivery of Labor or Materials IF They are in the SECOND TIER POSITION
If you are providing labor or materials to a commercial job (other than single family construction), and you are in the 2nd tier position (that is, if you are supplying materials to one of the GC’s subs, or if you are supplying labor as a sub-sub), then within 30 days of your first supply of labor or materials you must notify the general contractor of your presence on the job, your contact information, who hired you, name and location of the project, a description of the supply and if known the contract price or value OR LOSE THE LIEN. You can send the notice by email if you can get a confirmed receipt, like the read receipt option. Otherwise, you need to send it registered or certified mail or by overnight delivery. This is called the notice of commencement (See MISS. CODE ANN. § 85-7-407(2)). So unless the labor or materials are going out to a single family residential job, you need to ask where the labor and materials are going and have the contractor purchasing them fill out some information.
2) FILE Claims of Lien WITHIN 90 DAYS of LAST LABOR OR MATERIALS to the Job
Mississippi subcontractors and materialmen must file a claim of lien (the lien notice) with the Chancery Clerk within 90 days of the last delivery of materials or labor to the job. You must also send copies of the claim of lien to the owner and general contractor certified or registered mail or overnight delivery or lose the lien. See MISS. CODE ANN.§ 85-7-405 (1)(b).
3) On SINGLE FAMILY Residential, Send Out A 10 DAY PRE-LIEN NOTICE
At least 10 days before filing a claim of lien on a single family residence, Mississippi subcontractors and materialmen must first send the owner of the residence a “Pre-Lien Notice” that you intend to file a claim of lien after 10 or more days unless you are paid, or lose the lien. Be sure to be able to prove delivery of the notice. See MISS. CODE ANN.§ 85-7-409(2) and the pre-lien notice form at MISS. CODE ANN. § 85-7-433(5).
4) FILE SUIT WITHIN 180 DAYS
An additional point Mississippi subs and materialmen should be aware of is that there is a short statute of limitations for filing suit on the lien against the debtor who owes the money, or the owner if the debtor can’t be sued due to death, bankruptcy, etc. : 180 days after the filing of the claim of lien. If no suit is timely filed the lien expires, is unenforceable and void. See MISS. CODE ANN. § 85-7-421(1).