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In this article, we explain the basic steps in filing a Wisconsin Mechanics Lien

  • Who Is Allowed To File A Wisconsin Mechanic's Lien?  
  • Wisconsin Mechanic's Lien Waiver
  • How To File A Wisconsin Mechanics Lien
  • Wisconsin Mechanics Lien Preliminary Notice
  • What Information Do I Need To Include In A Wisconsin Mechanics Lien Claim?  
  • How Do I Enforce My Mechanics Lien?

In Wisconsin, a mechanic is allowed to file a mechanic’s lien if the services and materials provided are not paid for. This does not apply to aircraft or aircraft engines; all other vehicles and most trailers are covered. Once the mechanics lien is recorded, the mechanic has a security interest in the vehicle. If you are wondering how to file a Wisconsin Mechanics Lien, this article will provide you with a basic overview on the steps involved.

In this article, we explain the basic steps in filing a Wisconsin Mechanics Lien

  • Who Is Allowed To File A Wisconsin Mechanic's Lien?  
  • Wisconsin Mechanic's Lien Waiver
  • How To File A Wisconsin Mechanics Lien
  • Wisconsin Mechanics Lien Preliminary Notice
  • What Information Do I Need To Include In A Wisconsin Mechanics Lien Claim?  
  • How Do I Enforce My Mechanics Lien?

What Is A Mechanic’s Lien in Wisconsin?

Mechanic’s liens are legal documents that essentially reserve the rights of the filer to seek unpaid compensation. They are usually filed by contractors, subcontractors, or suppliers that never received payment for work that they performed or materials that they provided on the property. To learn more about mechanic’s liens, check out our article: The Purpose Of A Mechanic’s Lien.

Who Is Allowed To File A Wisconsin Mechanic's Lien?  

Wisconsin law is extremely broad when it comes to who is allowed to file a mechanics lien. The law allows anyone who is a mechanic and every “keeper” of a garage or a shop and their employees to have a lien on personal property for just and reasonable charges. A mechanic or shopkeeper does not have to be licensed to perform work or file a lien.  

Wisconsin Mechanic's Lien Waivers

Prior to attempting to file a Wisconsin Mechanic’s Lien, check to make sure there is no lien waiver. A lien waiver is a complete defense against a lien being enforced. If the mechanic signs a lien waiver either before or after the work being performed, they cannot enforce a lien. If either the service provider or the consumer signed one, it will be strictly construed against the person who signed it, which means whoever signed the lien waiver cannot file an effective lien.

Furthermore, liens on unauthorized work are never enforceable! A mechanic may not file a lien because the consumer did not pay for any unauthorized work. The mechanic can only place a lien on work that was discussed and approved prior to performance. The mechanic should have either a quote or an invoice to show that the work was authorized.  

How To File A Wisconsin Mechanics Lien

Below, we outline useful information to be aware of when filing a mechanic’s lien in Wisconsin, including preliminary notices of intent to file, what information you need to include in the lien, and how to enforce the lien.

Wisconsin Mechanics Lien Preliminary Notice

First deadline: 60 days from the first work performed. A preliminary notice of intent to file lien must be sent to the customer informing them of your intent to file a lien if you are not paid for the authorized work.

Second deadline: 30 days prior to filing the actual lien paperwork you must inform the customer a second time that you intend to file a lien if they do not pay and include a copy of the lien you plan to file.  

The lien then goes to the clerk of courts for the county the property is located in and is recorded. You must provide notice to the owner of the property that you have filed a lien on the property and be able to show that they were properly notified.  

The lien must be filed within 6 months of providing labor or services to the consumer or it will be considered waived and you have missed your opportunity to recoup financial loss.  

What Information Do I Need To Include In A Wisconsin Mechanics Lien Claim?

When filing a mechanics lien, you will need to include the following information:

  1. You will need copies of the two notices you provided to the customer.
  1. Include a written narrative of the agreement or contract that your claim is based on.
  1. The name of the vehicle owner
  1. The name of the person filing the claim  
  1. The amount owed by the customer
  1. The identifying information for the vehicle, it’s important that you be as specific as possible
  1. The amount owed (services performed and supplies used)

How Do I Enforce My Mechanics Lien?

The lien must be enforced within 2 years of its filing date or it becomes ineffective. What that means in practical terms is you have to file an action to enforce the lien. These types of filing are very rare as the mechanic usually already has possession of the property at issue.

To get in touch with one of our contract attorneys about a mechanic’s lien, or any other related issue you may be having, please give us a call at (630)-324-6666 or fill out our confidential contact form and we will get back to you shortly.

Posted 
September 20, 2021
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