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What is the time limit for filing a construction lien if the contract or scope of work is not completed 100%.

Kent, WA |

There is a delay in the completion of a project that I have a signed contract to perform work on. The owner is acting as the General Contractor. Payment for work completed to date is past the 90 day limit but there is still work to be performed under my contract. Do I have the ability to lien the project before or after we commence with the final phase?

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Attorney answers 2


The answer is that your lien claim must be filed within 90 days of your last day of work. If you are still within this time period I would recommend filing now(eventhough you may be called back to do more work) because if the project is not resumed and you let 90 days pass, you will lose your lien rights. However, if you are called back to do more work on the same contract, and you file within 90 days of your new last day of work, the lien will cover all of the work you did on the project, even work you did before the project was delayed. All of the above assumes this is a private Washington state construction project, not a government project.


In your current position, I would say you cannot record a lien. A construction lien must be filed within 90-days of the last day of work performed or materials supplied (RCW 60.03.091). This generally entails some sort of physical labor or delivery to jobsite, so if you haven’t performed any work in the last 90 days, you’re likely outside the deadline.

However, because there is still work to be completed within the contract, your lien rights may reopen or otherwise be revived by performing the additional work or supplying additional materials as called for in the contract. In a somewhat similar situation, a Washington appellate court said a contractor was permitted to revive its underlying lien rights by completing additional work after a previous lien had expired. Geo Exchange Systems, LLC v. Cam, 115 Wash.App. 625, 633, 65 P.3d 11, 15 (Div. II, 2003).

Mechanic’s liens/contractor’s liens can be difficult and costly if the correct guidelines, deadlines, and notices are not followed, as such, you should consider reviewing these matters with a construction attorney.

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