How to file a construction lien in Wisconsin

STAFF PICK
Chad William Koplien

Written by

Government Attorney

Contributor Level 13

Posted about 6 years ago. Applies to Wisconsin, 97 helpful votes

Email

1

Serve a Wisconsin Notice of Lien Rights

Serve a Wisconsin Notice of Lien Rights on an Owner with a properly completed Notice of Lien Rights form. The content required within these notices and the specific timing of these types of notices are provided in Wis. Stat. A? 779.02 Typically the deadline for these types of notices is either within 10, 30 or 60 days of the first date that the claimant provided labor or materials to the property (depending on the nature of the claimant and type of project).

2

Serve a Wisconsin Notice of Intent to File Lien

Serve a Wisconsin Notice of Intent to File Lien: to an owner with a properly completed Notice of Intent to File Lien form. The content required within these notices and the specific timing of this notice is also provided in Wis. Stat. Chp. 779. Typically the deadline for this notice is at least thirty (30) days prior to the filing of a lien claim, and within 5 months of the last date that the claimant provided labor or materials to the property.

3

File a Wisconsin Claim for Lien

A claimant must file an original and 2 signed, copies of a Wisconsin "Claim for Lien" form with the clerk of circuit court in the county where the property is located, at least thirty (30) days after service of the notice of intent to file claim for lien, but within, and no later than, 6 months from the date that the claimant last performed substantial work on or provided materials to the property. This form must also contain specific information as required by Chp. 779, see Wis. Stat. A? 779.06-09.

4

Serve the Owner

Within and no later than, 30 days after the date that the "Claim for Lien" form was filed, the authenticated copies obtained in Step 3 must be served on the owner by one of the required methods, including personal service using a process server or sheriff, or registered or certified mail, return receipt requested.

5

Foreclose on the Lien

Within and no later than, 2 years from the date of the filing of the "Claim for Lien" form, in order to enforce the lien, a claimant must file a lawsuit to foreclose on the lien.

6

Prior to filing suit, obtain a title letter report on the property

You do not want to go through the expense of filing a lawsuit, only to find that you are last in line in a LONG line of other creditors whose liens have superiority over yours. A title company can issue a letter report which will give you an idea of where you stand in line and whether there is sufficient equity in the property to pay you once the property is sold.

7

Tip: before serving any notice, find out who the true owner is

Many counties have register of deeds websites or other resources in which you can conduct an owner search or property address search to determine the name of the true and correct owners of the property. I have provided the link to Access Dane for Dane County, Wisconsin in the links below. You can conduct an Internet search to see if the county in which the property you would like to lien has a similar website.

Additional Resources

The term "serve" or "service" means that regular mail or hand delivery without a written form of acknowledgement of receipt by the recipient's signature in my view may not work. My professional opinion is that every notice should be served via personal service using a professional a process server or sheriff, or registered or certified mail, return receipt requested. Where there is a significant amount of money at stake, the $50 for professional service is money well spent.

Wisconsin Lien Statutes

Ask a question about Wisconsin Construction Liens

Wisconsin Lien FAQ

Subcontractor commercial project liens

Subcontractor single family residential project liens

What to look out for before suing an owner in a home improvement project

Recent legal trends in the Wisconsin construction industry

Recent cases in the Wisconsin construction industry

Tips for residential construction contracts

Tips for home improvement and remodeling contracts

Access Dane (search for property owners)

Rate this guide

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.

 

Ask now

25,471 answers this week

3,230 attorneys answering