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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>We have a costomer that gave us a down payment for some landscape work. We got started on the job. When we needed the next draw we found out that he had pasted away, so we stopped work. The family member that is getting the house from his uncle 's will doesn't want to pay for the work we had done. Can we file a lien on the house?

We have a costomer that gave us a down payment for some landscape work. We got started on the job. When we needed the next draw we found out that he had pasted away, so we stopped work. The family member that is getting the house from his uncle 's will doesn't want to pay for the work we had done. Can we file a lien on the house?

WisconsinLien DeadlinesMechanics LienPayment DisputesPreliminary Notice

Can we file a lien to get paid for the work that we got done before we found out that he had pasted away?

1 reply

Nov 10, 2017
In Wisconsin, a party who contracts directly with the property owner must: 1) provide a preliminary notice to the owner either in original contract or, by serving on the owner within 10 days after beginning work (if the agreement was oral); 2) provide a notice of intent to lien at least 30 days before filing the lien claim; and, 3) file the lien within 6 months from last providing labor or materials.

If the requirements are met, a lien is generally allowable for work performed to improve the property even if the property changed hands. A mechanics lien is a claim against the improved property – yes, the owner involved, but really is just kind of along for the ride. In a case where an innocent third party purchases the property, or if the property passed to a new owner through a succession proceeding, the new owner will generally be liable to satisfy the lien claim. In a situation in which the property was sold, the new owner could then seek recovery from either the original owner, or, potentially, the title insurance company. In a case in which that doesn't apply, the new owners will likely just need to make good on the amount due.
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