Wisconsin is one of only a few states that require a Notice of Intent to Lien before a lien can be filed. And, in combination with the state’s preliminary notice requirements, that makes complying with Wisconsin’s notice requirements complex, but crucial. Otherwise, claimants will be unable to leverage a Wisconsin mechanics lien into payment.
Sending a Notice of Intent to Lien is a powerful payment recovery tool, even when it’s not required. But, since § 779.06 specifically requires Wisconsin claimants send the warning before filing a lien – it’s crucial that construction businesses in the state are aware of the relevant requirements and deadlines. That way, the threat of lien can be properly utilized and leveraged into payment.
At it’s core, a Notice of Intent to Lien is a simple idea – it’s a document that states if payment isn’t made, and made soon, then a lien claim will be filed. Though, since it’s required in Wisconsin, that also means there are certain form, deadline, and mailing requirements that must be followed. It doesn’t have to be intimidating, though – and using an online platform to help send the document can make life easier.
This page will help clarify the requirements and answer questions regarding Wisconsin Notices of Intent to Lien.
Yes. All Wisconsin mechanics lien claimants must send a Notice of Intent to Lien in order to preserve their mechanics lien rights.
Specifically, § 779.06(2) states:
“No lien claim may be filed or action brought thereon unless, at least 30 days before timely filing of the lien claim, the lien claimant serves on the owner a written notice of intent to file a lien claim. The notice is required to be given whether or not the claimant has been required to and has given a previous notice pursuant to s. 779.02. Such notice shall briefly describe the nature of the claim, its amount and the land and improvement to which it relates.“
When do I need to send a Wisconsin Notice of Intent to Lien?
A Wisconsin Notice of Intent to Lien must be sent at least 30 days before a mechanics lien is filed. And, to be sure, the deadline to file a Wisconsin lien is 6 months from the last furnishing date – so a Notice of Intent to Lien will require some planning.
Which parties must receive a Wisconsin Notice of Intent to Lien?
A Notice of Intent to Lien must be sent to the property owner.
Still, it might be a good idea to send to parties like the project’s GC, lender, project manager, and other top-of-chain parties, as applicable. The more project participants that are aware of the debt, the better the odds that the threat of a lien claim will be resolved sooner than later.
How should the Wisconsin Notice of Intent to Lien be sent?
If mailed, Wisconsin Notices of Intent to Lien should be sent certified or registered mail, return receipt requested. The notice may also be made via personal service, in a way that service of summons is permitted, or by some other way that provides written acceptance of the notice.
§ 779.01of Wisconsin’s mechanics lien statute creates the service requirements for notices – and it appears to allow service by certified or registered mail. But, the end of the relevant provision states that service may be made by “…any other means of delivery in which the recipient makes written confirmation of the delivery…” So, to be safe, requiring a return receipt with certified or registered mail is likely a good idea.
What information should be included on a Wisconsin NOI?
Wisconsin’s mechanics lien statute doesn’t provide much guidance on what information should be present on a Notice of Intent to Lien. The statute merely states that it “shall briefly describe the nature of the claim, its amount and the land and improvement to which it relates.”
So, the notice must include:
– A brief description of the work provided – The amount of the claim – A description of the property
Of course, additional info might help to provide better context for the claim. The following info might be helpful as well:
– The name of your customer – The name of the owner – The dates when work started and ended
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Wisconsin has some of the most confusing notice laws in the country. However, the Notice of Intent to Lien requirements are pretty straightforward. We’ve reproduced the relevant statute below, but you can find the full Wisconsin mechanics lien statute here: Wisconsin Mechanics Lien Guide and FAQs.
§ 779.06. Filing Claim and Beginning Action; Notice Required Before Filing; Contents of Claim Document
(1) No lien under s. 779.01 shall exist and no action to enforce a lien under s. 779.01 shall be maintained unless within 6 months from the date the lien claimant performed, furnished, or procured the last labor , services, materials, plans, or specifications, a claim for the lien is filed in the office of the clerk of circuit court of the county in which the lands affected by the lien lie, and unless within 2 years from the date of filing a claim for lien an action is brought and summons and complaint filed. A lien claimant shall serve a copy of the claim for lien on the owner of the property on which the lien is placed within 30 days after filing the claim. A claim for a lien may be filed and entered in the judgment and lien docket, and action brought, notwithstanding the death of the owner of the property affected by the action or of the person with whom the original contract was made, with like effect as if he or she were then living.
(2) No lien claim may be filed or action brought thereon unless, at least 30 days before timely filing of the lien claim, the lien claimant serves on the owner a written notice of intent to file a lien claim. The notice is required to be given whether or not the claimant has been required to and has given a previous notice pursuant to s. 779.02. Such notice shall briefly describe the nature of the claim, its amount and the land and improvement to which it relates.
(3) Such a claim for lien shall have attached thereto a copy of any notice given in compliance with s. 779.02 and a copy of the notice given in compliance with sub. (2), and shall contain a statement of the contract or demand upon which it is founded, the name of the person against whom the demand is claimed, the name of the claimant and any assignee, the last date of performing, furnishing, or procuring any labor , services, materials, plans, or specifications, a legal description of the property against which the lien is claimed, a statement of the amount claimed and all other material facts in relation thereto. Such claim document shall be signed by the claimant or attorney, need not be verified, and in case of action brought, may be amended, as pleadings are.