Wisconsin Construction Lien Law

(Wis. Stats. §779.01 et seq) gives contractors, subcontractors, laborers and material suppliers the right to file construction liens against property they have worked if they are not paid.   Placing a lien on a property can play an important part of getting paid as a contractor.

That being said, Wisconsin Construction lien law imposes strict notice requirement and deadlines that are traps for the unwary. The following timeline provides an overview for the notices and filings that contractors must follow to preserve their lien rights.  Contractors will lose their lien right if theses deadlines are not met.


10 Day Notice
Prime Contractors must either include notice in the contract or send preliminary notice within 10 days of beginning work.
5 Month Notice
At least 30 days before a lien can be filed, a contractor must provide a notice of intent to file a lien. Since a lien must be filed within 6 months of the last day of work, the notice of intent to lien has a 5 month deadline.
6-Month Deadline
A Wisconsin mechanics lien claim must be filed within 6 months from the date the lien claimant furnished its last labor or materials. If this deadline is not complied with, the contractor loses its lien rights.
What Happens After A Contractor Files A lien?

Nothing.  The  contractor must file suit to foreclose on the lien.  The contractor has 2 years from the date of the lien to do so.

What Happens If a Contractor Fails To Timely File A Lien?

Although lien rights are an important tool in securing payment owed for work, all is not lost if the deadlines are missed. In most instances, the contractor would still have the ability to bring claims for breach of contract.