levelset In 2013, ground crumbled underneath the mechanics lien laws in Mississippi when the state’s courts declared the “Stop Notice” rules completely unconstitutional. For years and years, subcontractors and suppliers relied upon these stop notice rules to make any type of lien claim against construction project and improvements.
The effect of the remedy being declared unconstitutional was that all parties not directly in contract with the property owner (i.e. everyone other than the general contractors) was left completely nude in the lien and security world. In other words, they didn’t have any lien rights whatsoever.
The lobbying groups supporting contractor and supplier rights kicked into high gear, and the legislature very quickly turned around a bill that would totally deconstruct the state’s lien framework and rebuild it from scratch. The law passed and went into effect in April 2014.
There are two amazing things about these new statutes. First, the execution of all involved parties in getting the law drafted and enacted was pretty impressive. Second, the law turned Mississippi’s archaic and unique lien framework into a somewhat ordinary mechanics lien scheme.
Mississippi’s New Mechanics Lien Rules Are Now More Analogous To Other State Frameworks
While the bill was pending, we wrote an article discussing that the New Mississippi Lien Rights May Get Patterned on Georgia Law. This didn’t happen to the letter, but it is certainly clear that the new schema is much more like other states than the old Mississippi way.
Everyone Has Lien Rights: The old Mississippi law distinguished between lien rights available to general contractors and those available to everyone else. The new law takes the majority state approach by simply creating one mechanics lien remedy and giving everyone on the construction project the right to use it.
Lower Tiered Parties Must Give Preliminary Notice: Mississippi previously did not have any notice requirements, but it didn’t really have a lien right available to sub-tiers either. Now that nearly everyone has rights, the state requires that sub-tiers announce their presence on the job by sending a preliminary notice. This, again, is close to the majority rule nationwide.
Residential Homeowners Get Extra Protection: Another feature of the new mechanics lien law is that homeowners of single-family residential properties are given extra protection against lien filings. This is common within mechanics lien laws nationwide.
The New Requirements Explained in Free eBook from levelset
Overall, the new requirements are fairly straight-forward, and you can get a lot of questions answered and read through helpful information on levelset‘s Mississippi Mechanics Lien Law Resources.
However, levelset has also published a comprehensive eBook that guides Mississippi contractors and materialman through the state’s new lien framework. This guidebook contains information about:
- Mississippi’s specific notice requirements, and how to comply
- Legal background as to why liens and notice laws were written as they are
- Why the mechanics lien remedy works in general
- How to prepare a Mississippi mechanics lien form
- How to file your Mississippi mechanics lien in county recorder offices
- Practical considerations when dealing with county recorder offices
- Free forms to use to comply with the 2014 MS lien law changes
All Mechanics Lien & Notice Forms Available For Download from levelset
If you have a bunch of forms saved in a computer folder from before April 2014…you need to trash those forms. The Mississippi mechanics lien laws were completely re-booted, and practically every form that could be used by contractors and suppliers before April 2014 is legal garbage today. This even includes the lien waiver forms, which was also a subject of expansive change (Mississippi Lien Waivers – A New Approach).
has prepared the following forms that comply with the new Mississippi Mechanics Lien Laws:
1) Preliminary Notice: This document must be sent by lower tiered job participants to project their lien rights. The preliminary notice must be delivered within 30 days from when work on the construction project first begins.
2) Pre-Lien Notice to Owner (i.e. Notice of Intent to Lien): This is only required when work is being performed on single-family residential properties. In these cases, this notice must be sent 10 days before filing a mechanics lien, to warn the owner that a lien will be filed.
3) Mechanics Lien Claim: Everyone who wants to file a mechanics lien now uses the same lien form, which must be filed in the county property records.
4) Mechanics Lien Release: This document can be used to release a filed mechanics lien when it is satisfied, or when it needs to be released for other reasons. Under the state’s new law, lien cancellations are very important, as substantial penalties can be charged against lien claimants who leave satisfied liens on the record after satisfaction. See our discussion of this in “Get Paid? Better File A Mississippi Lien Release.”
All of these forms are available to the public for free download, from levelset .