Colorado Mechanic’s Liens

TIME DEADLINES

(When to File and Serve Your Mechanic’s Lien & Pre-Lien Notice)

When to Serve Pre-Lien:

Notice of Intent to File a Lien Statement
(Generals, Subs, Laborers, and Suppliers—All Projects)

No time limit, but must be served 10 calendar days before recording the mechanic’s lien. It is served with a copy of the lien attached. For Colorado, the notice must attach: 1) a copy of the proposed mechanic’s lien; and 2) a notarized affidavit of service.

When to File Mechanic’s Lien:

Colorado Mechanic’s Lien
(Generals—Residential and Commercial)

Within 4 months of the date a claimant last furnished labor, materials, or equipment. “Call back” or “warranty” work that merely repairs what you have already done or additional work on the contract of a trivial nature does not extend the time.

Colorado Mechanic’s Lien
(Subs and Suppliers—Residential and Commercial)

If only labor is performed, without providing materials, within 2 months of the date a claimant last furnished labor. Applies to persons working by the hour, day, or piece (unit basis) and are supplying labor only. If you are a sub or are also supply materials, this does not apply to you.

Colorado Mechanic’s Lien
(Labor Only—Residential and Commercial)

Within 4 months of the date a claimant last furnished labor, materials, or equipment. “Call back” or “warranty” work that merely repairs what you have already done or additional work on the contract of a trivial nature does not extend the time.

How to Count the Days—Colorado Mechanic’s Lien

Colorado Pre-Lien notices and Colorado mechanic’s liens are unforgiving—if you miss the deadline by one day, your lien rights will be lost.  Assume hypothetically you last furnished labor and materials on April 10 (these examples are based on calendar year 2016, but the same principles apply to any year) and have 90 days thereafter to record your Colorado lien.  To count the days correctly, follow these steps:

  • Ignore the first day—the day of last furnishing the labor or materials (April 10). The courts give you 90 full days after completion and that would not be the case if you finished at 5:00 P.M. on April 10 and it counted as the first full day. It would end up being some strange fraction of a day that is too hard to calculate. Day 1 will be April 11. Day 1 can be either a workday, weekend or holiday. In this case, the first day is Monday, April 11.
  • Count with calendar days not work days.
  • Count weekends and federal holidays.
  • If the LAST day falls on a weekend or holiday, you get the next business day to record your Colorado mechanic’s lien.
  • When you record a Colorado lien with the Court Clerk/Recorder, it is easy to know the deadline is met because the papers are date-stamped. If you are only serving (for example a pre-lien notice on the owner or general contractor) and not recording, you are OK in most states if the mailing is stamped and placed in a post office box or the post office before mail pick-up, by the last day—even if the addressee gets it later. You will have proof of mailing to show it was mailed on time. However, some states require the mailing be received by a certain date. If you have any doubts, give us a call and we will research the Colorado mechanic’s lien statute for you (800-995-9434; info.NationalLienLaw@gmail.com).
  • There is a big difference between a time limit of 3 months and 90 days. For 3 months you do not count the days and simply go forward three months. In our example of the last day of furnishing labor or materials being April 10, the third month deadline would be July 10. The 90th day is actually July 9–this is one day shorter because May has 3I days.
  • To summarize, if the last day of work was April 10, 2016, you have until July 11, 2016 to record the Colorado mechanic’s lien because the 90th day is Saturday, July 9.
  • When in doubt—file or serve the lien early. If you have no choice but to do it on the last day, make it earlier in the day and go in personally to the clerk’s office–in case you have to go back and pick-up more papers, forget something or get caught in traffic. And, if you think the last day is on a weekend or holiday—play it safe and file the mechanic’s lien on the business day before.
  • If you have not recorded a Colorado mechanic’s lien before or are uncertain about the process, it would just be your luck to send it out by mail or overnight delivery, and have the Clerk reject it for some technicality—only to receive the Colorado lien back in the mail after the time has expired. To prevent this, personally take it in at least the day before, so you have time to revise your paper work. It also gives you the advantage of being able to talk to a live person who will usually tell you exactly what format is required for the mechanic’s lien. Or pay approximately $75 and have a messenger service/process server (see the yellow pages) do it. Finally, never send the papers by regular mail (use overnight delivery) if you are 5 or less days before the lien deadline. Good luck.
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