Idaho Land Law

A Blog Discussing Current Issues of Land Use, Real Estate, and Construction Law in the State of Idaho.

On the Clock! How Long Do I have to file a Mechanic’s Lien Claim in Idaho?

This is the reoccurring question for those of us in the construction industry, “How long do I have to file a mechanic’s lien?”  In Idaho, the answer is simple… 90 days from the last day of supplying labor or material to the project.  Now, the hard part is figuring out exactly when the last day of work was performed on the project.    


For the purposes of determining the last day supplying labor, the general rule in Idaho is that the 90-day time limit starts when the job is substantially complete. Now, some of you may ask, “Can I send someone out to the job-site to complete minor items and extend my lien rights?”  Say clean up the job-site, perform a last minute walk-through, or change some light-bulbs?  In Idaho, this 90-day time limit cannot be extended by providing trivial labor or minor materials that are not necessary to complete the terms of the contract.

We all know that 90 days in the construction world is a short time to decide whether or not to file a mechanic’s lien claim. Typically, there are long lasting business relationships to consider.  Filing a mechanic’s lien claim may put your business at odds with the developer or the general contractor and practically eliminate you from consideration for future work. These all issues that should be considered before rushing out to file a mechanic’s lien claim.

There are few ways to address the sticky situation. One possible solution is to wait until the very last moment to file your lien claim.  Now, I didn't say wait until the last minute to prepare it. Instead have it prepared and ready to file if you don’t receive payment within 75 to 80 days. That should give you plenty of time to record the lien claim with the County Recorder where the property is located.

Remember, the goal is to preserve your business relationships and collect payment. Sometimes a simple phone call without mentioning anything about mechanic’s liens or lawyers will be enough to prompt payment from your customers.  Of course if the carrot approach does not work, then there is always the alternative…

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