Filing a Louisiana mechanics lien will give you a security interest in the title to the property. This provides protection against non-payment for any labor or materials you have supplied to and have become incorporated in the property or project. Here at Smiley Law Group we want you to be crystal clear on the essential things to know when considering your Louisiana mechanics lien. This post is general information for Private projects.
Who Can File a Louisiana Mechanics Lien?
In Louisiana the following parties can file for a mechanics lien:
- Prime or general contractors or subcontractors
- Laborers or other employees
- Materials suppliers (including those who supplied gasoline for equipment)
- Equipment lessors
- Architects, engineers and surveyors.
These protections do not extend to those who supply the suppliers as they are too far removed from the chain of lien protections.
What Are the Deadlines to File a Louisiana Mechanics Lien?
- General or prime contractors – file mechanics lien within 60 days of filing the Notice of Termination. If no notice was filed then the date runs from the day the project was considered substantially complete (this can often be an issue in litigation). Further, depending on the amount of the contract, if a notice of contract was not filed, then the general or prime contractor may not have lien rights at all.
- Parties other than prime – file mechanics lien within 30 days of filing the Notice of Termination. If no notice was filed then these parties must file within 60 days from substantial completion of the project.
- Material supplier (residential) –file a mechanics lien within 60 days after filing the Notice of Termination. If no notice was filed then the timeframe runs from either abandonment of the project or substantial completion. Notice requirements are laid out below.
It is essential to be aware of deadline and complete the required filing on time to preserve your rights to the mechanics lien. The guidelines above are general and may be different depending on the specific facts related to your situation.
Do I Need to Provide Preliminary Notice of My Mechanics Lien Filing?
Whether you need to provide preliminary notice in Louisiana depends on your role in the privately owned construction project.
- General contractors – must file a Notice of Contract in the parish office of the recorder of mortgages where the property is located before starting work on any project valued at $25,000 or more. If the property owner is currently occupying the property to be worked on then the general contractor must provide them with a Notice of Lien Rights prior to starting any work.
- Equipment suppliers – for private projects a notice must be sent by registered or certified mail (return receipt requested) to the owner and general contractor at least 10-days after the first date on which materials will be delivered.
- Material Suppliers – Material suppliers have a notice requirement, whereby they need to send notice of non-payment to all parties within 75 days of the last day of the month where materials were delivered to the project. If notice was not properly sent out, then this terminates any lien rights for suppliers. (Notice of non-payment is a hot button topic in construction disputes).
- Other parties – preliminary notice is not required for other parties such as subcontractors or laborers, but it can be a good thing to provide it. Also, these parties are entitled to receive notification of a Notice of Termination or to receive notification of abandonment or substantial completion. If the owner fails to do so they may be liable for these parties’ attorney’s fees.
The laws that create lien rights are very technical. There are plenty of do-it-yourself resources and information out there, but nothing beats having an experienced Louisiana construction lawyer handle your mechanics lien needs. If there is one flaw in the lien, it could jeopardize your rights to collection.
Mechanics liens offer strong protections when you have to deal with a non-payment situation. But as this post has illustrated, it is essential that you file your lien properly. Failure to follow even one lien requirement could result in the lien being declared invalid, in which case you will lose these valuable legal rights.
We here at the Smiley Law Group have helped hundreds of construction professionals like you to file, defend and dispute construction liens. We understand the processes involved and can work to ensure your rights are protected. Contact the Smiley Law Group for a free consultation today.