Louisiana’s mechanics lien deadlines begin changing on January 1, 2020. Before that date comes, it’s important to fully understand how your deadlines will be affected, and when those effects set in. Luckily, the deadlines didn’t change all that much.
When do the new Louisiana mechanics lien deadlines kick in?
Before looking at the new deadlines themselves, it’s important to know exactly when they kick in. If you’d like to read HB 203 for yourself, Legiscan has got you covered.
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Old deadlines apply for projects completed before January 1, 2020
The old Louisiana mechanics lien deadlines will apply to all projects that wrap up before January 1, 2020. So, if a Notice of Termination is filed before January 1, or if substantial completion occurs before that date, then there’s no cause for confusion: the old deadlines apply.
New deadlines apply to all other jobs
Projects that are ongoing as of January 1, 2020 will have to go by the new rules (explained in detail below). If substantial completion takes place after the new year, or if a Notice of Termination is filed after the new year, then the new lien deadlines will apply. This is true for projects begun in 2019 that carry over into 2020 – and it’s certainly true for any project begun after January 1.
Hard deadline when there’s uncertainty
Despite the rules above, there may still be some gray area for claimants whose projects end right around that January 1 mark but where a Notice of Termination is filed later. Keep in mind: the above rules apply! However, if there’s any doubt, HB203 created a sort-of backstop for claimants.
For any projects ending before January 1, 2020: The hard deadline for GC’s will be July 31, 2020. For sub-tier claimants, this hard deadline will be June 30, 2020. So, even if it seems like your deadline may pass those dates, if the project ended before January 1, the deadline won’t pass that backstop under any circumstances.
Other resources on recent Louisiana lien law changes:
- Louisiana Mechanics Lien Rules Updated by Passing HB 203
- Louisiana Preliminary Notice Rules Are Changing on January 1, 2020
- Removing Louisiana Mechanics Liens Just Became Much Easier
What are the new Louisiana mechanics lien deadlines?
Just like the old deadlines, the new deadlines can change depending on the claimant’s role on the project and on whether or not a Notice of Contract was filed. Note that for most of these situations, the lien deadline hasn’t really changed. Rather, some language was cleaned up and minor tweaks were made.
1. Notice of Contract was filed
If a Notice of Contract was filed, there are more variables to consider. Specifically, if a Notice of Contract has been filed, the deadline will depend on who hired you.
a. General Contractors
For general contractors, if a Notice of Termination is filed on the job, the 60-day clock starts from when that was filed. If there isn’t a Notice of Termination indicating the end date, then the lien must be filed within 7 months substantial completion or abandonment of the project.
b. Claimants other than general contractors
If you were hired by someone other than the owner, and if a Notice of Termination is filed, then the deadline to file a mechanics lien will be a mere 30 days from when the Notice of Termination gets filed. This specific deadline remains the same.
If a Notice of Termination doesn’t get filed, the deadline will be 6 months(!) from the substantial completion or abandonment of the project. This is new! It clarifies the deadline, which was a bit open-ended before. On projects where a Notice of Contract is filed but not Notice of Termination is filed, sub-tier claimants will have plenty of time to file their lien.
2. Notice of Contract was not filed
Everyone has the same lien deadline if a Notice of Contract wasn’t filed. That deadline is 60 days from the end of the project. If a Notice of Termination was filed – that’s the date from which the 60-day clock will start. If no Notice of Termination gets filed, the 60 days runs from the substantial completion or abandonment of the project. This is a relatively big shift. Previously, material suppliers on residential projects would have 70 days, rather than 60.
Note, though, that this deadline will change if a Final Notice of Nonpayment is sent…
Residential mechanics lien deadline may change if Final Notice of Nonpayment is sent
There’s another quirk about the new Louisiana mechanics lien deadlines. With the amendments came a new notice, which we’re calling a Final Notice of Nonpayment.
If a Notice of Contract has been filed, a Final Notice of Nonpayment can be sent by sub-tier claimants on residential projects. And, if properly sent, the deadline to lien will be moved to 70 days after a Notice of Termination is filed, or 70 days after the substantial completion of the project if a Notice of Termination isn’t filed.