One of the keys to successfully preserving your mechanic’s lien rights is to always keep in mind the deadlines imposed by Utah’s Mechanic’s Lien Act. (These deadlines may change so always check the applicable statute.)
The first important deadline you must be aware of in asserting your mechanic’s lien rights concerns the date by which your notice of claim must be recorded. The Utah Mechanic’s Lien Act requires that anyone claiming benefits under it must record with the county recorder in which the relevant property is located a written notice to hold and claim the mechanic’s lien. The notice of claim of mechanic’s lien must be recorded with the county recorder within: 1) 180 days after the day on which final completion of the original contact occurs if no notice of completion is filed, or 2) 90 days after the day on which a notice of completion is filed.
How do you know which of the two deadlines applies? Generally, the 180 day deadline applies. The 90 day deadline applies only where the owner of the property on which the construction, alteration, or improvement has taken place files a notice of completion with a state database (see generally Utah Code § 38-1-33).
It is important to know when final completion of the original contract takes place because that is when the 180 days begins to run. Utah’s Mechanic’s Lien Act provides that final completion of the original contract happens when one of the following takes place:
1) the date of the permanent certificate of occupancy if a certificate of occupancy is required;
2) the date of the final inspection of the work if a final inspection is required, but no certificate of occupancy is required; or
3) the date of substantial completion of the contract if no certificate of occupancy or final inspection is required.
It is important to note that the date of substantial completion is not change by later repair work or warranty work.
The second important deadline is the date by which you must file an action to enforce your mechanic’s lien rights (foreclosure date). Utah’s Mechanic’s Lien Act requires that someone filing a lawsuit to enforce his or her mechanic’s lien must file the lawsuit within 180 days from the date the notice of claim was recorded. If the lawsuit is not filed within 180 days, the Mechanic’s Lien Act provides that the action is “automatically and immediately void.”
As I mentioned above, the deadlines in Utah’s Mechanic’s Lien Act may change, so always check the applicable statute to verify the deadlines.