why does your website say you’re 90-day deadline to file a lien for the state of Idaho is from when work is substantially done?

2 months ago

Your website says that your 90 days to file a lien in the state of Idaho starts from substantial work of a job. Looking at the Idaho statutes I see nothing that states that your 90 days starts anytime before completion of the project. No where does it state anything about “trivial work.” I believe your website is giving some bad information. Which in turn has got one homeowner pissed off at me. I probably will not follow any advice from this website again.

Chief Legal Officer Levelset

Thanks for reaching out. I’d be happy to provide some more information regarding the deadline by which a lien is required to be filed in Idaho, and where such information comes from.

As stated in the Idaho mechanics lien resources section to which you refer, the deadline to file a mechanics lien in Idaho is 90 days from the claimant’s “completion of the labor or services, or furnishing of materials” for which the lien is claimed. This provision is set forth by Idaho Code § 45-507.

Like you mention, the statute itself doesn’t specify exactly what is meant by “completion.” In order to understand how “completion” is determined and defined a party must look to court decisions. Courts are tasked with interpreting statutes, and the court’s decisions set out the “case law” regarding how the statutory law is applied.

In Idaho, case law provides additional helpful information related to mechanics lien deadlines. In Mitchell v. Flandro, 506 P.2d 455 (1972) the Idaho Supreme Court held that: “It is established that ‘trivial’ work done or materials furnished after the contract has been substantially completed will not extend the time in which a lien claim may be filed.” This is because, as stated again by the Idaho Supreme Court, in Gem State Lumber Co. v. Witty, 217 P. 1027 (1923) “if trivial work could extend the time for filing a lien, ‘in every case in which a right to lien has ever existed, the title to the property may, for an indefinite period, remain in an unsettled and not ascertainable condition.”

While the court in Mitchell noted that the “period for the filing of liens cannot be extended or revived by the furnishing of trivial labor or materials” the period may be extended by the furnishing of labor or materials that “were reasonably necessary to complete construction according to the terms of the contract.”

Accordingly, it appears that the deadline is as set forth by the resources. In Idaho a claimant has 90 days from the substantial completion of his furnishing of labor or materials to the project in which a valid and enforceable lien may be filed. And, while this deadline may not be extended by trivial work, but it may be extended by returning to complete work that is necessary to complete the job.

You can read more about Idaho mechanics lien deadlines in this blog post. As with all of the information presented on the site, the deadline information is not advice tailored specifically to your situation – it is general information that you can use to be better informed. In all cases in which you have a need for specific legal advice you should ask a local attorney for assistance.

I hope you are able to get paid and to resolve your dispute with the homeowner.

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