How to file a construction lien in Wisconsin
Serve a Wisconsin Notice of Lien RightsServe 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).
Serve a Wisconsin Notice of Intent to File LienServe 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.
File a Wisconsin Claim for LienA 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.
Serve the OwnerWithin 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.
Foreclose on the LienWithin 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.
Prior to filing suit, obtain a title letter report on the propertyYou 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.
Tip: before serving any notice, find out who the true owner isMany 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 provided by the author
- 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)