So you’ve correctly filed a mechanic’s lien in Louisiana to secure your rights to payment – What now?
In Louisiana, like every other state, the process does not end with your properly filed lien. If you have filed a lien and still haven’t gotten paid, you must file a lawsuit to “enforce” or “foreclose” on your lien within a certain specific time period. Scott just posted a handy chart that gives an overview of how long that time period is, and this is definitely worth paying attention to. If you don’t initiate a lawsuit before the deadline, your lien is extinguished.
The extinguishment of liens under the Private Works Act in Louisiana is governed by La. R.S. 9:4823, which says that a lien is extinguished if:
The claimant or holder of the privilege does not institute an action against the owner for the enforcement of the claim or privilege within one year after the expiration of the time given by R.S. 9:4822 for filing the statement of claim or privilege to preserve it.
This provides a strong incentive to find out the time given by La. R.S. 9:4822, and institute your action for enforcement of the lien before that time expires.
So, what time period is given by 9:4822? Generally, if you have a right to lien, you have 60 days after the substantial completion of the project in which to file. However, if a “Notice of Completion” of the project was filed in the public records only the prime contractor has the same 60 day period, for everybody who did not contract directly with the property owner, the time period is shortened to 30 days.
What this means is as follows:
If you are the prime contractor, you have 1 year to enforce your lien, starting from 60 days after either the substantial completion of the project, or if one was filed, the filing of the “Notice of Completion”.
If you are not the prime contractor, you have 1 year to enforce your lien, starting either 60 days from the substantial completion of the project, or 30 days from the filing of the “Notice of Completion” if one was filed.
However, that being said, it would be best practice to make sure your action to enforce your lien has been initiated by 1 year from the date on which your lien was properly filed, either by you or by a service like zlien.com. If you need assistance in starting your action to foreclose on your lien, be sure to speak with your attorney, or a law firm specializing in such matters, like Wolfe Law Group.