Wyoming quietly and subtlety changed an aggravating detail in their mechanics lien laws making the process slightly easier for lien claimants. The new law went into effect on July 1, 2013, and therefore is currently being enforced.
More Liberal Requirement To Notify Owners About Mechanics Lien Filing
Under Wyoming’s previous law, mechanics lien claimants were required to deliver a notice alerting the property owner to the lien filing within just five days of the filing date. If the notice wasn’t timely delivered the requirements of the mechanics lien statute were not met, and accordingly, an owner or contractor could argue to have the lien completely invalidated.
This was a very strict requirement, and further, the penalty for non-compliance was severe. Presumably to soften the requirement and penalty, the new statute made compliance easier.
Now, the lien claimant has thirty days from the filing to notify the property owner, and the statute now explicitly provides that “Failure to send the notice required under this subsection shall not affect the validity of the lien.” The statute amended is WY Statute § 29-1-312.
This is a lot easier for mechanics lien claimants in Wyoming to swallow, but it is unclear as to what effect the notice requirement will have given the addition of the provision taking all teeth away from a non-compliance situation. If the notice is not sent, in other words, what will be the penalty? Time will tell…
More Liberal Requirement To Cancel A Mechanics Lien After Receiving Payment
Similar to the statutory change above discussed, the Wyoming legislature made a change to § 29-1-313 as well, the statute that sets forth the claimants obligation to file a lien cancellation after receiving payment. As explained in our Wyoming Mechanics Lien Laws FAQs and Resources, Wyoming is one of the only states to expressly dictate what must happen to a lien claim after payment has been tendered. In Wyoming, the claimant has the explicit obligation to cancel the claim.
The previous law required the cancellation be filed within 5 days of receiving payment. The new law that took effect on July 1, 2013, however, extended the time frame to 30 days, similar to the extension provided in the notice to owner statute.
Lien claimants must be careful to not violate this provision. Unlike the above-discussed provision, this one has teeth, as damages may be assessed up to $100 per day that the satisfaction is not filed.
Confusion Alert: This Is Not Related To Wyoming Preliminary Notices
The above-mentioned law amendment that changes the requirements for sending a “notice to owner” to the property owner to alert them about a mechanics lien filing is not the same as the state’s preliminary notice requirement or the notice of intent to lien requirement. As stated in the past, the term “notice” in construction law and mechanics lien or bond claim law is an abused term. Each state calls their construction notice document something a little different, and each state’s rules are different on how the notices work.
The above-mentioned law amendment that changes the requirements for sending a “notice to owner” to the property owner to alert them about a mechanics lien filing is not the same as the state’s preliminary notice requirement or the notice of intent to lien requirement. (Compare the Notice of Intent to Lien with the Preliminary Notice here).
Wyoming does require both preliminary notices and notices of intent to lien. The above mentioned law change did not alter those requirements in any way. Preliminary notices must still be sent within 30 days after first furnishing any labor or materials to the project, and notices of intent to lien must be sent “not later than 20 days prior to filing” the mechanics lien.
Changes to Levelset Resources And Products In Response To Law Change
As always, not only do we alert our readers and clients to changes in the mechanics lien laws by posting about them on our blog, but we also take actions to update our resources and products. Such was done in the instance of the Wyoming change as well.
Specifically, we made the following alterations:
- The Wyoming Mechanics Lien Law FAQs and Resources were updated with the new timelines
- The statutory text was updated to reflect the changes
- The mechanics lien product and satisfaction of lien product handling instructions were changed within our system to ensure proper handling after ordering