Contractors – Construction Liens – Missouri
Note: This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive discussion of Missouri’s construction or mechanic’s lien laws, but does include basic provisions.
What is a construction or mechanic’s lien?
Every State permits a person who supplies labor or materials for a construction project to claim a lien against the improved property. While some states differ in their definition of improvements and some states limit lien claims to buildings or structures, most permit the filing of a document with the local court that puts parties interested in the property on notice that the party asserting the lien has a claim. States differ widely in the method and time within which a party may act on their lien. Also varying widely are the requirements of written notices between property owners, contractors, subcontractors and laborers, and in some cases lending institutions. As a general rule, these statutes serve to prevent unpleasant surprises by compelling parties who wish to assert their legal rights to put all parties who might be interested in the property on notice of a claim or the possibility of a claim. This by no means constitutes a complete discussion of construction lien law and should not be interpreted as such. Parties seeking to know more about construction laws in their State should always consult their State statutes directly.
Who can claim a lien in this State?
Missouri law states that “Any person who shall do or perform any work or labor upon, or furnish any material, fixtures, engine, boiler or machinery for any building, erection or improvements upon land, or for repairing the same, or furnish and plant trees, shrubs, bushes or other plants or provides any type of landscaping goods or services or who installs outdoor irrigation systems under or by virtue of any contract with the owner or proprietor thereof, or his agent, trustee, contractor or subcontractor, or without a contract if ordered by a city, town, village or county having a charter form of government to abate the conditions that caused a structure on that property to be deemed a dangerous building under local ordinances pursuant to section 67.410, RSMo, upon complying with the provisions of sections 429.010 to 429.340, shall have for his work or labor done, or materials, fixtures, engine, boiler, machinery, trees, shrubs, bushes or other plants furnished, or any type of landscaping goods or services provided, a lien upon such building, erection or improvements, and upon the land belonging to such owner or proprietor on which the same are situated, to the extent of three acres;…” M.A.S. § 429.010
How long does a party have to claim a lien?
Any party seeking to claim a lien must file a Lien Claim with the clerk of the circuit court of the proper county within six (6) months after the lien accrued. M.A.S. § 429.080.
What kind of notice is required prior to claiming a lien?
Original contractors are not required to give notice, but all other parties are required to provide the property owner with ten (10) days written notice prior to the filing of a lien claim. M.A.S. § 429.100.
By what method is a lien filed in this State?
A Claim of Lien must be filed with the county recorder within six (6) months of the accrual of the indebtedness. It must contain a just and true account of the demand due, a true description of the property, and the name of the owner or contractor, or both. M.A.S. § 429.080.
How long is a lien good for?
Missouri statute states that all actions regarding the enforcement of liens shall be commenced within six months after filing the lien. M.A.S. § 429.170.
Are liens assignable?
Yes. Missouri statute allows a party who has filed a mechanic’s lien to assign the lien to another party who is entitled to bring suit and enforce the lien. M.A.S.§ 429.160.
Does this State require or provide for a notice from contractors and subcontractors to property owners?
Yes. Missouri law provides for a series of notices between contractors, subcontractors and property owners. First, a contractor must provide the form language contained in M.A.S. § 429.012 advising the property owner of his rights and warning of the possibility of having to pay for labor and material twice. This notice must be provided to the property owner before payment in any form is made.
Second, subcontractors or parties other than the original contractor who wish to claim a lien must provide the property owner with ten (10) days notice prior to the filing of a lien claim. M.A.S. § 429.100.
Does this State require or provide for a notice from the property owner to the contractor, subcontractor, or laborers?
Yes, in certain circumstances. When the property to be improved involves the repair or remodeling or the addition to an owner occupied dwelling, Missouri law states that no party shall have a lien against the property other than the original contractor. However, the statute also allows the property owner to give written consent permitting any person who supplies materials or services to claim a lien. M.A.S. § 429.013.
Does this State require a notice prior to starting work, or after work has been completed?
No. Missouri statutes do not require a Notice of Commencement or a Notice of Completion as in some other States.
Does this State permit a person with an interest in property to deny responsibility for improvements?
No. Missouri statutes do not provide for a Notice of Non Responsibility as in some other States.
Is a notice attesting to the satisfaction of a lien provided for or required?
Yes. Missouri statute requires a lien claimant who’s lien has been satisfied to enter with the clerk of the circuit court an acknowledgment of that satisfaction. Failure to do so within ten (10) days of payment shall render the lien claimant liable for any damages that result from the refusal including the cost of bringing a suit.
Does this State permit the use of a bond to release a lien?
No. Missouri law does not contain a provision under which a bond may be used to remove a lien.