Common Mistakes When Filing a Mechanic’s Lien in Wisconsin


The job of constructors in Wisconsin is not easy at all. While they work on residential, commercial, or public projects, they have a great responsibility to property owners who hired them. They should meet clients’ requirements and wishes following the ground’s possibilities and under the Wisconsin construction laws.

For their hard work, contractors, and laborers under them receive compensation. That is a payment they agreed in advance with the clients and made it final by signing the contract. Visit this source and see why signing this document is a must. In the case of larger projects, a payment schedule or some form of deferred payment is also agreed upon.

Dealing with Non-Payers

In an ideal world, payment follows after completing the project, in some reasonable timeframe. But in reality, there are often problems that prevent clients from paying contractors, suppliers, and other laborers. Although the contract should protect builders, billing procedures can often take a long time. They mostly end up in court, which can cost them much more than just the client’s debt.

To avoid troubles and ensure against non-payment, contractors and other mechanics from Wisconsin should consider a mechanic’s lien. This legal tool is designed to provide them peace of mind regarding possible payment issues with clients.

In Short about Mechanic’s Lien

A mechanics’ lien is an interest in the property made by the person who has provided labor or material that built or improved that property. It is a legal tool that covers all types of projects in Wisconsin. The great thing is that everyone who took part in them is entitled to file a claim if they were not paid for their labor.

The law that orders the right to file a mechanic’s lien in Wisconsin has well-defined guidelines regarding deadlines and procedures. If you need to claim your money using this legal tool, you must meet specific requirements beforehand.

Preliminary Notices

In order to be able to rely on the mechanic’s lien at all, it’s necessary to send the preliminary notices to clients in specific periods before, during, and after the end of the project. On some commercial projects, this ‘pre-preparation’ is not necessary but is desirable.

Any contractor in Wisconsin has to send a few pre-lien notices before the final step (filing a lien). That is necessary for debtors to take you seriously and pay their debts before taking any legal action. If they ignore all attempts to settle out of court, you have no choice but to file a claim and enforce it (if needed).

Missing or Wrong Information

The first mistake that can occur while trying to exercise the right to a mechanic’s lien is ignorance. If you anticipate some details or steps in this process, you can lose the right to use this legal tool. Therefore, it is necessary to get acquainted with the procedure, forms, and deadlines.

Mistakes that can lead to a lien being dismissed as unfounded are incorrect project or property description and lack of information about the contractor (the claimant). Another common mistake is the exaggerated amount claimed with the lien.

Wrong Type of Claim

Forms for any construction claim can be found online. For Wisconsin claimants, there are two particular forms – for prime and sub-contractors. They differ in the information required and the legal language. State regulations are quite strict in this regard. Any missing or wrong information can cause your claim to be rejected. The same goes for any pre-lien notice form.

Failing to Meet Deadlines

No constructor has an automatic right to a mechanic’s lien. This claim is somehow acquired by ‘notifying’ the client) that you are protected in the event of non-payment. You have to do that right after the beginning of the project, whether you are a general or sub-contractor, supplier, or laborer.

The problem can arise when claimants do not meet the preliminary notice requirements. They vary by state, so it is necessary to get acquainted with Wisconsin construction law before starting any project (this applies to both contractors and property owners).

On the next page, learn about the purpose of preliminary notices:

In Wisconsin, contractors provide the client with a Preliminary notice no later than two months from the start of work. Failing to do that means they lose the right to file the mechanic’s lien if the clients do not pay them within the agreed time.

Use Notice of Intent

Another request in terms of pre-lien notices is to send a Notice of Intent, a document that is the last warning before filing a claim. This document should be sent no later than a month before you plan to file a lien. Simply put, you should remind the debtor in the next three or four months after finishing or canceling the project.

There is a great thing about Notice of Intent. Even if you have lost the right to lien due to negligence (you did not send Preliminary notice), the recipient does not have to know that. Use this warning as a bluff, as most property owners do not want to get a burden on their property in terms of lien.

Not Asking for Help

You do not need a lawyer for filing a lien since all forms are available online, and the procedure itself is straightforward. The problem may arise when the lien deadline approaches. If you fail to collect the debt within two years after filing a claim, it becomes obsolete.

Because the Wisconsin law finds that the debt from the lien must not incur any additional fees, many contractors avoid hiring lawyers. That can be a mistake, as experienced construction lawyers can help you with filing a mechanic’s lien in Wisconsin and its enforcement, as it’s nothing but a lawsuit against the debtor.

By checking Wisconsin’s law related to mechanic’s lien, you will see that claimants are given many rights when requiring their money using this legal tool. Although this process can last, it is quite useful, but only if you don’t make some mistakes that invalidate your claim.


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