Contractors – Construction Liens – Colorado
COLORADO MECHANIC’S, CONTRACTORS,
OR MATERIALMAN’S LIEN LAW SUMMARY
Note: This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive discussion of Colorado’s construction lien laws, but does include basic provisions.
When and By Whom A Lien May Be Filed.
Colorado law recognizes that when a person, or corporation, provides labor, materials, or laborers for a construction project or improvement of land, that party shall have the legal authority to assert a lien against the property being improved. Central to properly obtaining a lien is the filing of a construction contract or a memorandum describing the contract with the county recorder prior to the commencement of work. If a memorandum is used, it should describe all of the parties involved in the contract, a description of the property, a description of the work to be dome, and the total amount to be paid under the contract and under what terms. Failure to file the contract or memorandum results in the parties providing labor or materials to the construction project being presumed to have a lien for the value of the labor or materials provided. C.R.S.§38-22-101.
Notice of Materials or Labor Furnished.
Any party entitled to a lien, except the principal contractor, may at any time give to the owner, or other person responsible for disbursing funds, a written notice advising that the party giving the notice has provided or will provide labor or materials to the project. This written notice serves to advise the party funding the project that the party serving the notice is entitled to be paid and is someone who could potentially file a lien. The notice includes the estimated or agreed value of the labor or materials that have been supplied or will be supplied. Properly served, this notice requires the parties financing the construction project to withhold the amount of value of these labor or materials from the principal contractor to satisfy the claim or lien. C.R.S.§38-22-102.
Filing a Lien Statement.
To file a lien, the party claiming the lien, (the lien claimant), must file a lien statement in the office of the county clerk and county recorder. Before a lien statement can be filed the lien claimant must serve the property owner and principal contractor with a notice of intent to file a lien at least ten days before the lien statement is filed. C.R.S.§38-22-109(11).
A lien statement must contain the property owner’s name, if known, as well as the name of the lien claimant, and the contractor for whom the lien claimant worked if the lien claimant is a subcontractor. In addition, the notice must contain a property description and a statement of how much the lien claimant is owed. C.R.S.§38-22-109(1).
Timely Filing of Lien Statement
Lien statements claiming payment for labor or work by the day or piece must be filed within two months of the completion of the project. Otherwise, the lien statement must be filed within four months of the day the last work was performed or materials supplied by the lien claimant. C.R.S.§38-22-109(4)
Filing a Notice of Intent to File a Lien
To extend the amount of time within which to file a lien statement the lien claimant may file with the county clerk a Notice of Intent to File a Lien. This notice contains a property description, the lien claimant’s name address and telephone number, and the name of the party the claimant has contracted with. The filing of this notice extends the time the lien claimant may file a lien statement to four months after completion of the project or six months after the filing of the notice, whichever comes first. C.R.S.§38-22-109(4)-(10).
Duration of a Notice of Intent
A Notice of Intent to File a Lien automatically terminates six months after filing. However, if improvements are not yet complete, prior to termination of the notice the claimant may file an amended notice and extend the notice an additional six months from filing or four months from completion of the project. C.R.S.§38-22-109(10).
Duration of a Lien Statement
Regardless of when the lien statement is filed, no lien statement shall remain effective longer than one year from filing unless within thirty (30) days of the one year anniversary of the filing the claimant files with the county recorder an affidavit stating that improvements on the property have not been completed. C.R.S.§38-22-109(9).
Assignment of a Lien or Claim
It is possible for a lien claimant to assign in writing his claim and lien to another party. That party then has all the rights and remedies provided by law of original lien claimant for the purposes of filing and enforcing the original lien claimant’s lien. C.R.S.§ 38-22-117.
Satisfying a lien
After the lien has been filed, the property owner may have the lien removed by paying the amount of the lien together with the costs of filing and recording the lien. After payment, the property owner may demand that the lien claimant file with the county recorder an Acknowledgment of Satisfaction, which attests to the fact that the lien has been satisfied. A lien claimant who does not file an Acknowledgment within ten days of the property owner’s request shall forfeit the amount of $10.00 per day. C.R.S.§38-22-118.
Use of a Bond to Prevent the filing of a Lien
The Colorado statutes that allow a party who supplies labor or materials to place a lien on the improved property does not apply where the principal contractor and his surety execute a performance bond and a labor and materials bond, each in excess of 150% of the contract price. Parties who would otherwise be entitled to a lien may pursue the contractor and his surety directly, but must file suit within six months of completion of the project. C.R.S.§38-22-129(2).
In order for a bond to prevent the filing of a lien, the principal contractor must file a notice of the bond with the office of the county recorder. The principal contractor should also make copies of the bond available to subcontractors, materialmen, and laborers upon request. C.R.S.§38-22-129(3)
It is possible for a lien claimant to file a lien statement when the principal contractor has a bond in place. If the contractor and surety execute a notice acknowledging the existence of a bond and that the lien claimant is entitled to benefit from that bond, the lien shall be deemed released. Under statute, if the property owner requests that the contractor and surety execute an acknowledgment, they must do so within thirty (30) days. Failure to execute the acknowledgment within thirty (30) days will permit the lien claimant to file his lien as normal. C.R.S.§38-22-129(4).