Filing a Mechanic’s Lien in Oklahoma
What is a Mechanic’s Lien?
A mechanic’s lien, which is referred to as a “mechanic’s and materialmen’s lien” in Oklahoma, is an involuntary security interest granted by law to construction participants to secure payment for labor or materials furnished to improve property. Typically, mechanic’s liens are filed by a general contractor (one who has a contract directly with the property owner), a subcontractor (one who performs work under a contract with a general contractor), or a supplier that has not received payment for labor and materials provided to the property.
When the mechanic’s lien is filed on the subject property, the lien attaches to and encumbers the fee simple ownership of the property, creating a cloud on the title. A mechanic’s lien can be filed in Oklahoma against commercial, residential and public property. Additionally, a mechanic’s lien can also be filed against mining property, railroads, oil and gas wells, as well as other types of property.
Who has the Right to File a Mechanic’s Lien in Oklahoma?
A party who performs labor or supplies material shall have a lien on the real estate that received the labor or material. 42 Okla. Stat. § 141 states that:
“Any person who shall, under oral or written contract with the owner of any tract or piece of land, perform labor, furnish material or lease or rent equipment used on said land for the erection, alteration or repair of any building, improvement or structure thereon or perform labor in putting up any fixtures, machinery in, or attachment to, any such building, structure or improvements; or who shall plant any tree, vines, plants or hedge in or upon such land; or who shall build, alter, repair or furnish labor, material or lease or rent equipment used on said land for buildings, altering, or repairing any fence or footwalk in or upon said land, or any sidewalk in any street abutting such land, shall have a lien upon the whole of said tract or piece of land, the buildings and appurtenances in an amount inclusive of all sums owed to the person at the time of the lien filing, including, without limitation, applicable profit and overhead costs…”
This includes contractors, subcontractors, sub-subcontractors and suppliers. Along with construction services, this includes services for planting trees or other plants, plumbing, roofing, electrical, architectural work, remodel work and so forth. In order to have a valid mechanic’s lien, the labor and material must actually have been provided to the subject real property.
In Oklahoma, a claimant that is other than an original contractor is required to send “pre-lien notice” when one (1) of the two (2) following circumstances applies:
- the property includes an owner-occupied dwelling; or
- the project is non-residential, and the claimant’s aggregate claim is greater than $10,000.
If the party has supplied labor and materials for a job regarding residential property, pre-lien notice is not required. Residential property is defined as a single family or multifamily project of four (4) or fewer dwelling units, none of which are occupied by an owner. Regardless of the claim amount or whether or not the claimant is a general or subcontractor, it is always optimal to send pre-lien notice in order to prevent unnecessary legal disputes, as well as possibly speeding up the claim settlement process.
Pre-Lien Notice Requirements
This is very important. Pre-lien notice must be sent no later than seventy-five (75) days after the last date that supply of material, services, labor, or equipment were provided by the claimant. The pre-lien notice shall be in writing and shall contain, but not be limited to, the following:
- a statement that the notice is a pre-lien notice;
- the complete name, address, and telephone number of the claimant, or the claimant’s representative;
- the date of supply of material, services, labor, or equipment;
- a description of the material, services, labor, or equipment;
- the name and last-known address of the person who requested that the claimant provide the material, services, labor, or equipment;
- the address, legal description, or location of the property to which the material, services, labor, or equipment have been supplied;
- a statement of the dollar amount of the material, services, labor, or equipment furnished or to be furnished; and
- the signature of the claimant, or the claimant’s representative.
The pre-lien notice needs to be either hand delivered and supported by a delivery confirmation receipt or sent by certified mail with return receipt requested. Notice sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, is effective on the date mailed.
Further, the pre-lien notice should be sent to the general contractor, as well as the owner of the property. If the address of the owner is unknown, the claimant may request in writing from the original contractor the name and last-known address of the owner of the property. In the event that the general contractor fails to provide the claimant with the information requested within five (5) days, the pre-lien notice requirement to the owner of the property will be waived.
Filing the Mechanic’s Lien Statement
The claimant will file the mechanic’s lien at the County Clerk’s office of the county in which the property is located. The statement should contain:
- The name of the claimant;
- The names of the owner and/or the contractor;
- Description of the labor/materials provided;
- The amount claimed; and
- A legal description of the property subject to the lien.
The statement is required to be verified by affidavit, meaning that it must be signed and notarized.
What is the Deadline for Filing a Mechanic’s Lien in Oklahoma?
The deadline to file a mechanic’s lien for a general contractor is within four (4) months after the date upon which material or equipment was last furnished or performed under the contract. The fuse is even shorter for subcontractors, who must file the lien within ninety (90) days after the date upon which material or equipment was used on the land or when labor was last performed.
Enforcing the Mechanic’s Lien
Hopefully after filing the mechanic’s lien, the debtor will have resolved the matter and paid the amount due. In the event that this has not occurred, the next step will be to file suit in order to foreclose on the mechanic’s lien. In Oklahoma, the deadline to enforce a mechanic’s lien is within one (1) year after the lien accrued.
Hiring an Attorney
If you have supplied labor or materials for any type of construction or improvements to real estate, you should be compensated. Common arrangements to retain representation include a contingency agreement in which the attorney is paid a percentage of the amount collected. Under this scenario, the lawyer does not collect a fee unless the client collects on the account.
If you need help filing or enforcing a Mechanic’s Lien in Oklahoma, call us today for a consultation to discuss your options or send us an email with your contact information.
This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for the advice of a legal professional. Please contact an attorney with questions about preliminary lien notice, or any other issues related to liens in Oklahoma.