Contractors – Construction Liens – Oklahoma
Note: This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive discussion of Oklahoma’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 file a lien in this State?
Any person who shall, under oral or written contract with the owner of any tract or piece of land, perform labor, furnish material or lease or rent equipment used on said land for the erection, alteration or repair of any building, improvement or structure thereon or perform labor in putting up any fixtures, machinery in, or attachment to, any such building, structure or improvements; or who shall plant any tree, vines, plants or hedge in or upon such land; or who shall build, alter, repair or furnish labor, material or lease or rent equipment used on said land for buildings, altering, or repairing any fence or footwalk in or upon said land, or any sidewalk in any street abutting such land, shall have a lien upon the whole of said tract or piece of land, the buildings and appurtenances.
Any person who shall furnish any such material or lease or rent equipment used on said land or perform such labor as a subcontractor, or as an artisan or day laborer in the employ of the contractor, may obtain a lien upon such land, or improvements, or both, from the same time, in the same manner, and to the same extent as the original contractor, for the amount due him for such material, equipment and labor; and any artisan or day laborer in the employ of, and any person furnishing material or equipment used on said land to, such subcontractor may obtain a lien upon such land.
How long does a party have to file a lien?
A contractor must file a lien statement within four (4) months after the date upon which material or equipment used on said land was last furnished or labor last performed under contract.
A subcontractor or other party must file a lien statement with the county clerk of the county in which the land is situated, within ninety (90) days after the date upon which material or equipment used on said land was last furnished or labor last performed under such subcontract.
What kind of notice is required prior to filing a lien?
Contractors are required to provide the property owner with a form notice advising the property owner of his rights regarding liens.
Are liens assignable?
Oklahoma statutes on construction liens do not specifically speak to whether liens may be assigned to other parties.
Does this State require or provide for a notice from subcontractors and laborers to property owners?
Yes. Oklahoma law requires the contractor to send the owner of an owner-occupied dwelling a Notice to Owner of certain lien rights in order to clam a lien. In addition, a party seeking to claim a lien for equipment that was rented or leased to the project must have provided the owner with a notice to that effect within five days after the equipment was rented or leased.
Does this State require or provide for a notice from the property owner to the contractor, subcontractor, or laborers?
Yes. Property owners are permitted to demand in writing that the contractor provide them with a lien waiver from every person providing labor or materials. The property owner may also demand a list of all parties who have provided labor or materials for the purposes of determining if those parties have been paid.
Does this State require a notice prior to starting work, or after work has been completed?
No. Oklahoma 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. Oklahoma statutes do not have a provision which permits the denial of responsibility for improvements.
Is a notice attesting to the satisfaction of a lien provided for or required?
No. Oklahoma statutes do not provide for or require that a lien holder who has been paid produce or file a notice to that effect.
Does this State permit the use of a bond to release a lien?
Oklahoma law does not have a provision under which a lien could released throughout the filing of a bond.