Idaho Land Law

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

Mechanic’s Liens in Idaho – How long before I lose my right to lien a project?



There are a few things you should know as a contractor, sub-contractor, or a material supplier doing work in Idaho. Probably the most important is that contractors are required to register in Idaho prior to doing work. Failure to register is a misdemeanor that may result in a fine but more importantly an unregistered contractor loses its rights to pursue legal remedies. I cover this topic in a blog post on Idaho’s Contractor Registration Act.  

The second most important topic is the deadline to file a mechanic’s lien. In Idaho, a mechanic’s lien must be filed within ninety (90) days after the completion of labor or services, or the furnishing of materials for project. This is a statutory deadline and failure to timely file results in a loss of your mechanic’s lien rights. Now that doesn’t mean you are without recourse, you could always sue for breach of contract but the ability to go after the underlying real property for payment… is waived. 

You must include the following in any Idaho mechanic’s lien claim:

(a) A statement of the claimant’s demand, after deducting all just credits and offsets;

(b) The name of the owner, or reputed owner, if known;

(c) The name of the person by whom he was employed or to whom he furnished the materials; and

(d) A description of the property to be charged with the lien, sufficient for identification.

In addition, a mechanic’s lien claim must also be verified by the oath of the claimant, his agent or attorney.  And a true and correct copy of the lien must be served on the owner of the property either by delivering a copy personally or by mailing a copy by certified mail to the owner at his last known address. The delivery or mailing of the lien claim must be made no later than five (5) business days following filing the lien.

As a practical tip, I prefer that the owner is served by a process server.  My reasoning for paying a little extra for personal service is that I can include the process server’s affidavit in the action (lawsuit) to enforce the mechanic’s lien.  Remember that you must file your mechanic’s lien lawsuit within six (6) months after the mechanic’s lien is filed.

Mechanic’s liens are an integral part of any contractor, sub-contractor, or material suppliers’ business payment strategy. As part of that business strategy, my suggestion is to calendar seventy (70) days after the last date labor or materials were supplied to a project and if payment is not received by that deadline, then begin preparing your mechanic’s lien. Calendaring these dates will ensure you do not miss the ninety (90) day deadline to file your mechanic’s lien and will also give your attorney time to help you with the process. 

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