Make Sure Your Kansas Mechanics Lien Has the Required Information
It is crucial to make sure your Kansas mechanics lien contains all of the information specifically required by Kansas’ lien laws. Mechanics liens are creatures of statute, and as such, require strict compliance with the statutory requirements. The failure to provide certain specific information on the lien claim isn’t just a simple oversight – it can invalidate the entire lien. Clearly, then, great care should be taken to make sure the proper information is obtained and included on the lien document.
Kansas mechanics liens are required to be a verified statement containing the following information:
1) The name of the owner;
2) The name and address sufficient for service of process of the claimant;
3) A description of the real property to be charged with the lien;
4) A reasonably itemized statement and the amount of the claim, (Note, however, if the amount of the claim is evidenced by a written instrument, or promissory note, a copy of the written document may be attached to the claim instead of the itemized statement; and
5) A signature verifying the lien by affidavit.
Download Project Information Sheet Template
SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING TIMING OF KANSAS MECHANICS LIENS
Kansas generally requires that mechanics lien be filed within 4 months of the date of last furnishing labor or materials (for a direct contractor) and within 3 months of last furnishing labor or materials (for everybody else). However, for non-residential projects, this deadline may be extended to 5 months (for all parties), if the claimant files a notice of extension within their original lien deadline, and sends the notice by certified and regular mail to the general contractor or construction manager and by regular mail to the property owner.
How To File a Kansas Mechanics Lien
Now it’s time to get your Kansas mechanics lien filed with the clerk of the district court of the county in which property is located.
Prepare lien form, taking care to include the necessary information as set forth above, and sign the document with the verification statement. While the lien needs to be verified – not necessarily notarized – it makes for a smoother recording process if the document is notarized.
Send the original notarized copy to the office of the clerk of the district court of the county in which property is located.
– The lien may be delivered to the proper county recorder via mail or FedEx, or personally “walked in” to be recorded (either by you or a courier).
– Make sure to include the proper recording fees with the lien. Lien are often rejected for improper fees (and this can be true even if you provide too much money). Any delay caused by needing to resubmit the lien for recording takes time – and since liens are time sensitive documents, it can possibly result in a missed deadline. Recording fees vary from county to county and can be determined by calling the county clerk of court, checking on the clerk’s website, or asking in person if you physically bring the lien for filing. The fees are often set at one amount for the first page with an additional, smaller, amount for each additional page.
– Note that your lien document must also comply with any specific margin requirements that particular county may have, as well as potentially requiring a county-specific cover page – these can also be determined by calling the clerk’s office.
Note that if you mailed your lien to the county for recording, or sent it via a courier, along with the proper fees for recording with the document, you will must include a self-addressed stamped envelope with return instructions to receive a copy of the recorded lien for your records.
Serve a copy of the mechanics lien – see more below.
How To Serve a Kansas Mechanics Lien
The process to obtain a valid Kansas mechanics lien is not completed by filing the document with the clerk of court – a copy of the lien must be served on the interested parties. The requirements for how a Kansas mechanics lien must be served are complex, and vary by claimant role.
An original contractor must serve a copy of the lien on the property owner by both certified and regular mail.
Note – Parties that did not contract directly with the property owner have different service requirements.
Parties other than direct contractors, must deliver the lien to the property owner and any party obligated to pay the lien by one of the following methods:
(1) served personally in the manner provided by K.S.A. 60-304, and amendments thereto, for the service of summons within the state, or by K.S.A. 60-308, and amendments thereto, for service outside of the state;
(2) mailed by restricted mail; or
(3) posted in a conspicuous place on the premises, if the address of any one owner or such party is unknown and cannot be ascertained with reasonable diligence.
The easiest way to accomplish the required service, then, is to send a copy of the lien to the all parties “up-the-chain” via restricted mail.
Congratulations! Once the lien document has been filed and served – your Kansas mechanics lien is ready to get you paid what you’ve earned. While this is a powerful tool to get you paid, this may not be the end of the road – it is still possible for the lien to be challenged, or even determined invalid. Or, the fact the lien was filed may not be enough to prompt payment by itself, and you may be forced to enforce your lien claim through a foreclosure action.
Remember that just because a lien is recorded doesn’t necessarily make it valid, and likewise, just because a property owner (or their attorney) may make a claim that it is improper and needs to be removed doesn’t make it invalid.
Finally, a Kansas mechanics lien stays effective for 1 year from the date the lien was filed.