Can we file for a lien even if we did not send Notice of Lien Rights to the homeowner in Wisconsin?

1 month ago

We signed the agreement with the homeowner to do the job on 09/08/2018. The work did not start until 05/23/2019 and we finished 6/3/19. We send a Notice of Intent to File A Lien, and now we want to File a Lien, as still did not received the payment. We did not sent the Notice of Lien Rights, as we were not aware we have to. We are General contractor, and we already paid all subcontractors and the supplier for material used for this job. This is a residential, one family building.
Can we still file for a Lien? Is the Lien enforceable?

Chief Legal Officer Levelset

In Wisconsin, a prime contractor is generally required to give written notice to the property owner in the written contract. However, if there is no written contract for the work, the notice must be “prepared separately and served on the owner or authorized agent within 10 days after the first labor, services, materials, plans, or specifications are performed.” This notice must include certain specific language set forth by Wisconsin statute § 779.02(e)(2)(a).

If the notice is not given, the prime contractor generally loses lien rights unless: the prime contractor has paid all of its obligations to its subcontractors , suppliers, and service providers in respect to the work of improvement, and more than 60 days have passed since any of the sub-tier parties have begun to furnish labor or materials, and they either failed to provide notice or has waived all lien rights in full.

Accordingly, on a Wisconsin project, if all sub-tier parties have been paid, more than 60 days have elapsed since the last sub-tier party began to work, and no sub-tier party has sent a notice of right to lien (or, alternatively, if all sub-tier parties have waived lien rights) it may be possible for a direct contractor to file a valid lien.

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