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  • Writer's pictureWI Process

Service of Construction or “Mechanics” Liens

Did you know that Wisconsin has a construction lien law that applies to construction contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, service providers, and design professionals involved in real property improvement? See Chapter 779 of Wisconsin State Statutes.

By filing a claim for lien, a contractor can secure payment for work performed by placing a lien against the construction site, which may be enforced through a legal action for foreclosure. To take advantage of the benefits of the construction lien law, a lien claimant must comply with the statutory requirements, which prescribe in detail what must be done and how it must be done. The process of creating a lien generally consists of filing a claim for lien, serving the property owner with a written notice of intent to file a lien claim, and serving the owner with a copy of the claim for lien. Contractors must take extra care to preserve and exercise their statutory construction lien rights, as non-compliance results in a loss of lien rights. If you believe this scenario applies to you, you should seek legal counsel.


The process of creating a lien generally consists of the following steps:

· The lien is created by filing a claim for lien with the office of the clerk of circuit court in the county where the property is located. This must be done no later than six months after the claimant has last performed work or provided materials.

· At least 30 days before filing the lien, the lien claimant must serve the property owner with a written notice of intent to file a lien claim.

· Within 30 days after the lien claim is filed, the claimant must serve the owner with a copy of the claim for lien. Once the lien has been filed, the claimant has two years in which to enforce it through a foreclosure lawsuit.

Respecting small residential projects (up to four family living units), an additional first step may be required—an early notice of lien rights must also be served upon the owner, subject to certain exceptions. A prime contractor must include this notice in its written contract with the owner, or it must serve the owner with a separate written notice within 10 days of commencing work if there is no written contract. A non-prime claimant must serve the owner with two copies of a written notice within 60 days of commencing its work. Contact WI Process to have your intent to file a lien claim, or lien claim (if applicable) served.

Disclaimer: The above information is the what we have experienced as the “typical” process, however laws and process are subject to change at any time and this information may not be current. You should seek legal counsel for assistance with ensuring all of the correct steps are followed in accordance with Wisconsin law. We are not held liable for any actions you take based on the above information.

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