Contractors – Construction Liens – Oregon
Note: This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive discussion of Oregon’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?
Any person performing labor upon, transporting or furnishing any material to be used in, or renting equipment used in the construction of any improvement shall have a lien upon the improvement for the labor, transportation or material furnished or equipment rented at the instance of the owner of the improvement or the construction agent of the owner.
How long does a party have to claim a lien?
Every person claiming a lien created under ORS 87.010 (1) or (2) shall perfect the lien not later than 75 days after the person has ceased to provide labor, rent equipment or furnish materials or 75 days after completion of construction, whichever is earlier. Every other person claiming a lien created under ORS 87.010 shall perfect the lien not later than 75 days after the completion of construction.
How long is a lien good for?
No lien created under ORS 87.010 shall bind any improvement for a longer period than 120 days after the claim of lien is filed unless suit is brought in a proper court within that time to enforce the lien, or if extended payment is provided and the terms thereof are stated in the claim of lien, then 120 days after the expiration of such extended payment, but no lien shall be continued in force for a longer time than two years from the time the claim of lien is filed under ORS 87.035 by any agreement to extend payment.
Does this State require or provide for a notice from subcontractors and laborers to property owners?
Yes. a person furnishing any materials, equipment, services or labor described in ORS 87.010 (1) to (3), (5) and (6) for which a lien may be perfected under ORS 87.035 shall give a notice of right to a lien to the owner of the site.
A person filing a claim of lien pursuant to ORS 87.035 shall mail to the owner and to the mortgagee a notice in writing that the claim has been filed. A copy of the claim of lien shall be attached to the notice. The notice shall be mailed not later than 20 days after the date of filing.
Does this State require or provide for a notice from the property owner to the contractor, subcontractor, or laborers?
An owner who receives a notice of right to a lien in accordance with the provisions of ORS 87.021 may demand, in writing, from the person providing materials, equipment, services or labor a list of materials or equipment or description of labor or services supplied or a statement of the contractual basis for supplying the materials, equipment, services or labor, including the percentage of the contract completed, and the charge therefor to the date of the demand. The supplier’s statement shall be delivered to the owner within 15 days, not including Saturdays, Sundays and other holidays as defined in ORS 187.010, of receipt of the owner’s written demand, as evidenced by a receipt or a receipt of delivery of a certified or registered letter containing the demand. Failure of the supplier to furnish the information requested constitutes a loss of attorney fees and costs otherwise allowable in a suit to foreclose a lien.
Also, every improvement except an improvement made by a person other than the landowner in drilling or boring for oil or gas, constructed upon lands with the knowledge of the owner shall be deemed constructed at the instance of the owner, and the interest owned shall be subject to any lien perfected pursuant to the provisions of ORS 87.001 to 87.060 and 87.075 to 87.093, unless the owner shall, within three days after the owner obtains knowledge of the construction, give notice that the owner will not be responsible for the same by posting a notice in writing to that effect in some conspicuous place upon the land or the improvement situated thereon.
Does this State require a notice prior to starting work, or after work has been completed?
The completion of construction of an improvement shall occur when: The improvement is substantially complete; or (b) A completion notice is posted and recorded as provided by subsections (2) and (3) of this section; or (c) The improvement is abandoned as provided by subsection (5) of this section. When all original contractors employed on the construction of an improvement have substantially performed their contracts, any original contractor, the owner or mortgagee, or an agent of any of them may post and record a completion notice.
Does this State permit a person with an interest in property to deny responsibility for improvements?
Yes. Every improvement except an improvement made by a person other than the landowner in drilling or boring for oil or gas, constructed upon lands with the knowledge of the owner shall be deemed constructed at the instance of the owner, and the interest owned shall be subject to any lien perfected pursuant to the provisions of ORS 87.001 to 87.060 and 87.075 to 87.093, unless the owner shall, within three days after the owner obtains knowledge of the construction, give notice that the owner will not be responsible for the same by posting a notice in writing to that effect in some conspicuous place upon the land or the improvement situated thereon.
Is a notice attesting to the satisfaction of a lien provided for or required?
No. Oregon 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?
Yes. The owner of an improvement or land against which a lien perfected under ORS 87.035 is claimed, or any other interested person, may file with the recording officer of the county in whose office the claim of lien is filed a bond executed by a corporation authorized to issue surety bonds in the State of Oregon to the effect that the principal or principals on the bond shall pay the amount of the claim and all costs and attorney fees that are awarded against the improvement or land on account of the lien. The bond shall be in an amount not less than 150 percent of the amount claimed under the lien, or in the amount of $1,000, whichever is greater.