A mechanic’s lien is a document that is filed at the courthouse by a contractor who has not been paid for work performed on the property. The lien is similar to a mortgage or other lien in that it can be foreclosed upon, which means that the mechanic could go to court to have the home sold to satisfy the debt; however, it usually does not get this far. The process to file a mechanic’s lien in Kansas is relatively straightforward as long as the contractor is careful to follow all of the requirements.
What Must be Included in the Lien?
There is no specific form to be used when you file a mechanic’s lien in Kansas, but there is information that must be included in the lien for it to be effective. This information is as follows:
- The name of the property owner(s) and the owner’s mailing address
- The name of the contractor claiming the lien
- The name of the general contractor (if the lien is being claimed by a subcontractor or supplier)
- The address and legal description of the property
- The amount of the lien
- The date that work was last performed on the property
- A reasonably itemized description of the work performed
- A notary following the signature of the person affirming the accuracy of the information contained in the lien
- A copy of the warning statement or notice of intent to proceed, if applicable
Please note that prior to filing the lien, you may be required to provide certain pre-filing notices. Moreover, please see our previous blog post for some of the common errors to avoid when filing your lien.
What Timing Considerations Are There When you File a Mechanic’s Lien in Kansas?
In order to be effective, a mechanic’s lien must be filed within three months of the last date that work was performed on a property if being filed by a subcontractor or supplier. If the lien is being filed by a general contractor, it must be filed within four months. In both instances, this date can be extended to five months, if the contractor files a notice of extension prior to the original deadline. Note, this is a total of five months from the date the work was last performed, and not five months from the date the extension is filed.
Additionally, a lien is only valid against a property for a period of six months after it is filed unless the contractor files suit to foreclose on the lien. As such, it is important that the contractor be aware of this date and monitor the deadline so a decision can be made on whether or not to foreclose prior to that deadline. After this date, a contractor can still file suit for non-payment (up to the applicable statute of limitations) but will not be able to foreclose on the property.
How Do You Actually File a Mechanic’s Lien in Kansas?
The process to file a mechanic’s lien in Kansas is very straightforward. In order to file a lien, simply go to the county courthouse where the property is located and ask for the clerk’s office. Once there, the clerk can accept and file the lien and accept your payment for the filing fees. Please note that most courthouses will require that you file the original version with the “wet ink” signatures. As such, make sure you do not bring a copy or an electronically signed document to the courthouse.