Kentucky Mechanics Lien Overview

It’s easy to file Kentucky mechanics liens with zlien, the web’s leading all-in-one mechanics lien compliance manager and security platform. Plus, the zlien platform can help you prepare and file mechanics lien cancellations, preliminary notices, and more. To learn more about Kentucky’s mechanics lien law, read the information below.

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Kentucky

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
None.

Kentucky

Mechanics Liens Deadlines
180 Days
Lien must be filed within 6 months from last providing materials or labor. Action to enforce must be commenced within 12 months from filing of lien. File your Kentucky lien online now.

Kentucky

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
75/120 Days
Notice to Owner must be given within 75 days of last furnishing labor or materials if contract is $1000 or less. If it is more than $1000, notice must be given within 120 days of last furnishing labor or materials. Always must be provided within 75 days on owner-occupied residential projects.

Kentucky

Mechanics Liens Deadlines
180 Days
Lien must be filed within 6 months from last providing materials or labor. Action to enforce must be commenced within 12 months from filing of lien. File your Kentucky lien online now.

Kentucky

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
75/120 Days
Notice to Owner must be given within 75 days of last furnishing labor or materials if contract is $1000 or less. If it is more than $1000, notice must be given within 120 days of last furnishing labor or materials. Always must be provided within 75 days on owner-occupied residential projects.

Kentucky

Mechanics Liens Deadlines
180 Days
Lien must be filed within 6 months from last providing materials or labor. Action to enforce must be commenced within 12 months from filing of lien. File your Kentucky lien online now.

5 Things to Know About Kentucky Mechanics Liens

1) Suppliers to Suppliers Do Not Have Lien Rights – Most Others Do

In Kentucky, the only project participants without mechanics lien rights are suppliers to suppliers. This means that prime contractors, subcontractors, sub-subcontractors, material suppliers, equipment lessors, and design professionals all have Kentucky mechanics lien rights. It is important to note that design professionals (architects, engineers, and surveyors) must be licensed in order to file. All other parties may not be required to be licensed, although it is always advisable to be licensed if a license is otherwise required.

2) Kentucky Preliminary Notice Dependent On Project Tier and Project Type

Kentucky does not require any notification prior to the beginning of work, but some parties are required to provide notice within a certain amount of time after last furnishing labor and/or materials to the project, and prior to filing a valid Kentucky mechanics lien.

On owner-occupied residential projects, a preliminary notice must be sent by all parties without a direct contract with the property owner within 75 days after the date of last furnishing labor or materials to the project. Note that any mechanics lien on an owner-occupied residential project is not effective to the extent the owner has paid the contractor, subcontractor or architect prior to receipt of notice, so for full protection, the lien claimant must send the notice prior to any payment by the property owner.

On all other residential projects, and all commercial projects, notice must be sent no later than 75 days after the last furnishing of labor or materials to the project if the claim amount is less than $1000, and no later than 120 days after the date of last furnishing labor or materials if the claim is greater than $1000.

In any case, a failure to send the required preliminary notice will result in the fatality of the lien.

3) Pay Attention to the Lien Deadline and Don’t Forget to Inform the Property Owner after Filing

The deadline to file a Kentucky mechanics lien is the same for all parties – 6 months from the date that the project participant last provided service or materials. Within 7 days of filing the lien, it is imperative to send a copy of the lien statement to the property owner. Although the notice can be sent through regular U.S. mail, it’s preferable that it is sent through certified mail (return receipt requested) so because without proof that the notice was sent to the owner, the lien is not valid. Once the lien is filed on a private project, the claimant must initiate an action to enforce the lien within 12 months.

4) A Lien in Kentucky Does Not Require a Legal Property Description

The state of Kentucky does not specifically require a legal description of the property. Kentucky statute requires a lien statement to include a “description of the property intended to be covered by the lien sufficiently accurate to identify it.” Note, however, that as we have discussed many times on the blog – the description considered “sufficiently accurate” may vary greatly even between counties. Further, even if the statute does not specifically require a legal description, certain county recorders may “require” one anyway. It is always the safest bet to include the best description of the property available – including a legal description if possible.

5) Competing Mechanics Liens May Need to Share Funds

Generally, Kentucky mechanics liens have priority over encumbrances on the property created after the mechanics lien attached. Among competing mechanics liens, there is no priority, and in a foreclosure action, all mechanics lien claimants will share funds pro rata assuming there is not enough to fully cover all claims. Further, the original contract amount is the cap on the recovery in any foreclosure action, and project participants that have filed liens must share this amount.


Kentucky subs need to send a Notice before filing a Lien

Kentucky Mechanics Lien FAQs

Kentucky Mechanics Lien FAQs

Who can file a Kentucky Mechanics Lien?

In Kentucky, parties entitled to mechanics lien protection include prime contractors, subcontractors, sub-subcontractors, material suppliers, equipment lessors, and licensed design professionals who contracted directly with the owner (architects, engineers, surveyors). Suppliers to suppliers do not have mechanic’s lien protection in Kentucky.

When is the Deadline to File a Kentucky Mechanics Lien?

In Kentucky, all lien claimants must file the lien claim in the office of the county clerk in the county in which the project is located within 6 months from the date of last furnishing labor or materials to the project.

Do I Need to Send Notice the Lien Was Recorded?

Yes. Kentucky law requires that the lien claimant send a copy of the lien statement to the property owner within 7 days of filing the lien with the county clerk. The copy of the lien should be sent to the property owner’s last known address, and may be sent by regular U.S. mail. However, compliance with this step is crucial to the lien claim, so sending the copy of the lien statement certified mail, return receipt requested will provide proof of compliance within the allotted time period. Failure to comply with this requirement will result in the dissolution of the lien.

Can I Include Attorney's Fees, Collection Costs, or Other Amounts in the Lien Total?

No. The lien total claimed should not exceed the contract price. This, however, does not mean that these fees and costs are not recoverable. They just should not be included in the total lien amount claimed.

When is the Kentucky Deadline to Enforce a Mechanics Lien, or, How Long is My Lien Effective?

In Kentucky, all lien claimants on private projects must initiate an action to enforce their lien within 12 months from the date the statement of lien was filed.

Will My Kentucky Lien Have Priority Over Pre-Existing Mortgages or Construction Loans?

Generally, mechanics liens in Kentucky have priority only over liens or encumbrances on the property created after the mechanics lien. For purposes of determining priority, the mechanics lien “relates back” and was created on the date of the beginning of the labor or the furnishing of materials. Among competing mechanics liens, there is no priority and all will share pro-rata if there are not enough funds to fully cover all claims. If the aggregate amount of the mechanic’s liens filed on the project exceed the amount of the original contract, the original contract amount is the cap, and that amount is distributed pro-rata among the lien claimants. Mechanics liens do not have priority over a mortgage or other contract lien, or a bona fide conveyance for value unless the person claiming the lien filed a statement stating that he furnished or expects to furnish labor or materials to the property and the amount in full thereof, in the office of the county clerk prior to the recording of the mortgage or other contract lien or conveyance.

Must the Kentucky Lien Include a Legal Property Description?
Must the Kentucky Lien be Notarized?

Yes. Kentucky requires a lien claim to be notarized.

Can I File a Kentucky Lien if I'm Unlicensed?

Design professionals (architects, engineers, surveyors) claiming a lien in Kentucky must be licensed for the lien to be valid. Kentucky does not impose licensing requirements on other potential lien claimants.

Can I File a Kentucky Lien on a Condominium Project?

Yes, a mechanics lien may be filed against an individual condominium just as against every other property, provided the lien claimant has valid mechanics lien rights.

Who Cancels the Kentucky Lien if/when I get Paid?

In Kentucky, once the lien has been satisfied, the lien claimant is required to file a Release of Lien within 30 days. The lien release must be notarized and filed as was the lien statement.

What Are the Lien Waiver Rules?

Kentucky does not have statutory lien waiver forms; therefore, you can use any lien waiver form. Since lien waivers are unregulated, be careful when reviewing and signing lien waivers.

Kentucky state law specifically declares lien waivers in advance of payment or furnishing of work or materials as void.

To learn more about lien waivers, see our Kentucky Lien Waiver FAQs and Resources.

Kentucky Preliminary Notice FAQs

Do I need to send a Kentucky Preliminary Notice?

Kentucky does not require any notification prior to the beginning of work. However, as noted in the “priority” section above, a mechanism is provided for a prime, sub, or supplier to file a Notice of Contract to protect their lien claim as it relates to subsequent mortgages or conveyances. Kentucky does impose mandatory notice requirements on some parties prior to the filing of the lien statement. Notice to Owner is required from any party who did not contract directly with the property owner, or his agent, as set forth below.

Non-owner-occupied, residential private projects: All parties not contracting directly with the owner must provide written notice within 75 days of last furnishing labor or materials on claims amounting to less than $1000, and within 120 days of last furnishing labor or materials on claims in excess of $1000.

Owner-occupied residential projects: All parties not contracting directly with the owner, or his agent, must provide written notice within 75 days of last furnishing labor or materials to the project no matter what the claim amount. Further, any mechanics lien on an owner-occupied residential project is not effective to the extent the owner has paid the contractor, subcontractor or architect prior to receipt of notice.

When do I need to send a Kentucky Preliminary Notice?

If a party elects to file a Notice of Contract to protect against subsequent mortgages or conveyances, it must be filed prior to the recording of any mortgage or conveyance to be effective as to that mortgage or conveyance. Parties required to send Notice to Owner must send it by the following dates: On owner-occupied residential projects, notice must be sent within 75 days after the date of last furnishing labor or materials to the project – but any mechanics lien on an owner-occupied residential project is not effective to the extent the owner has paid the contractor, subcontractor or architect prior to receipt of notice, so for full protection the lien claimant must send the notice prior to any payment by the property owner. On all other commercial projects, notice must be sent no later than 75 days after the last furnishing of labor or materials to the project if the claim amount is less than $1000, and no later than 120 days after the date of last furnishing labor or materials if the claim is greater than $1000.

What if I send the Kentucky Preliminary Notice Late?
The Notice of Contract has no specific time period in which it must be filed. It is only effective as to mortgages or conveyances recorded subsequent to the filing of the Notice of Contract. Failure to send Notice to Owner in the required time is fatal to a lien claim in Kentucky.
How Should the Kentucky Preliminary Notice be Sent?
The Notice of Contract must be filed in the office of the county clerk. The Notice to Owner must be mailed to the property owner, or his agent. Kentucky holds it sufficient to prove that the notice was mailed to the property owner’s last known address. To accomplish this, notice can be sent by both certified mail and regular mail. The lien claimant must be able to show that the notice was mailed.
Do I have to send the Kentucky Preliminary Notice to Someone Other than the Owner?

The Notice of Contract must be filed in the office of the county clerk. The Notice to Owner must only be sent to the property owner, or his agent.

Is the Kentucky Preliminary Notice Considered Delivered When Sent or When Received?

Notices are considered delivered when sent, and considered recorded when recorded.

Kentucky Mechanics Lien Statutes

The provisions of the Kentucky statutes that permit the filing of mechanics liens and materialman’s liens can be found in Kentucky’s Construction Lien Law, Kentucky Code § 376.010 et. seq. The full text of Kentucky Mechanics’ and Materialman’s Lien Law is provided below, and has been updated as of 2011.

Kentucky's Mechanics Lien Statute

§ 376.010. Mechanics’ and Materialman’s Liens; Filing of Statement of Amount Claimed; Notice to Owner or Agent; Definitions of “Labor” and “Supplies”

(1) Any person who performs labor or furnishes materials, for the erection, altering, or repairing of a house or other structure or for any fixture or machinery therein, for the excavation of cellars, cisterns, vaults, wells, or for the improvement in any manner of real property including the furnishing of agricultural lime, fertilizer, concrete pipe or drainage tile, crushed rock, gravel for roads or driveways, and materials used in the construction or maintenance of fences, by contract with, or by the written consent of, the owner, contractor, subcontractor, architect, or authorized agent, shall have a lien thereon, and upon the land upon which the improvements were made or on any interest the owner has therein, to secure the amount thereof with interest as provided in KRS 360.040 and costs. The lien on the land or improvements shall be superior to any mortgage or encumbrance created subsequent to the beginning of the labor or the furnishing of the materials, and the lien, if asserted as hereinafter provided, shall relate back and take effect from the time of the commencement of the labor or the furnishing of the materials. The lien shall not be for a greater amount in the aggregate than the contract price of the original contractor, and should the aggregate amount of the liens exceed the price agreed upon between the original contractor and the owner there shall be a pro rata distribution of the original contract price among the lienholders.
(2) The lien shall not take precedence over a mortgage or other contract lien or bona fide conveyance for value without notice, duly recorded or lodged for record according to law, unless the person claiming the prior lien shall, before the recording of the mortgage or other contract lien or conveyance, file in the office of the county clerk of the county wherein he has furnished or expects to furnish labor or materials, a statement showing that he has furnished or expects to furnish labor or materials, and the amount in full thereof. The lien shall not, as against the holder of a mortgage or other contract lien or conveyance, exceed the amount of the lien claimed or expected to be claimed as set forth in the statement. The statement shall, in other respects, be in the form prescribed by KRS 376.080.
(3) No person who has not contracted directly with the owner or his agent shall acquire a lien under this section unless he notifies in writing the owner of the property to be held liable or his authorized agent, within seventy-five (75) days on claims amounting to less than $1,000 and one hundred twenty (120) days on claims in excess of $1,000 after the last item of material or labor is furnished, of his intention to hold the property liable and the amount for which he will claim a lien. It shall be sufficient to prove that the notice was mailed to the last known address of the owner of the property upon which the lien is claimed, or to his duly authorized agent within the county in which the property to be held liable is located.
(4) No person who has not contracted directly with the owner or his authorized agent shall acquire a lien under this section on an owner-occupied single or double family dwelling, the appurtenances or additions thereto, or upon other improvements for agricultural or personal use to the real property or real property contiguous thereto and held by the same owner, upon which the owner-occupant’s dwelling is located, unless he notifies in writing the owner of the property to be held liable or his authorized agent not more than seventy-five (75) days after the last item of material or labor is furnished, of the delivery of the material or performance of labor and of his intention to hold the property liable and the amount for which he will claim a lien. It shall be sufficient to prove that the notice was mailed to the last known address of the owner of the property upon which the lien is claimed, or to his duly authorized agent. This notice is in lieu of the notice provided for in subsection (3). Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this subsection, the lien provided for under this section shall not be applicable to the extent that an owner-occupant of a single or double family dwelling or owner of other property as described in this subsection has, prior to receipt of the notice provided for in this subsection, paid the contractor, subcontractor, architect, or authorized agent for work performed or materials furnished prior to such payment. The contractor or subcontractor cannot be the authorized agent under this subsection. This subsection shall apply to the construction of single or double family homes constructed pursuant to a construction contract with a property owner and intended for use as the property owner’s dwelling.
(5) For purposes of this section, “labor” includes but is not limited to all supplies and work done by teams, trucks, machinery, and mechanical equipment, whether the owner furnishes a driver or operator or not.
(6) (a) “Supplies” includes small tools and equipment reasonably necessary in performing the work required to be done, including picks, shovels, sledge hammers, axes, pulleys, wire cables, ropes, and other similar items costing not more than fifty dollars ($50) per item, and tires and tubes furnished for use on vehicles engaged in the performance of the work.
(b) “Supplies” also includes the cost of labor, materials, and repair parts supplied or furnished for keeping all machinery and equipment used in the performance of the work in good operating condition; and shall include the agreed or reasonable rental price of equipment and machinery used in performing the work to be done:
1. The lien for rental equipment or machinery shall not be more than the aggregate sum of six (6) months’ rental, and the aggregate amount of such rental shall not exceed sixty percent (60%) of the agreed value of the machinery or equipment; and
2. The liens for supplies as defined in this subsection are subordinate to the liens for labor, material, and supplies as defined in this section.

§ 376.020. Lien Follows Property if Executory Contract for Sale is Rescinded

If the owner claims by executory contract and for any cause the contract is rescinded or set aside, the lien provided for in KRS 376.010 shall follow the property into the hands of the person to whom the property may come or with whom it may remain by reason of the rescissions, but only to the extent that the actual value of the property is enhanced by the improvements so placed upon it.

§ 376.030. Eviction of Owner; Rights of Lienholder

If the owner or claimant of the property is evicted from possession by the judgment of a court, and is entitled to compensation for improvements, the holder of a lien under KRS 376.010 shall, to the extent of the lien, debt and costs, be substituted to the rights of the person evicted and shall have satisfaction of his debt and costs out of the sum adjudged for improvements.

§ 376.040. Forfeiture or Surrender of Lease; Removal of Improvements

If labor is performed or materials furnished by contract with the lessee of real property for a term of years, and if before the expiration of the term by lapse of time the lessee’s interest therein shall, from any cause, be forfeited or surrendered to the lessor, and if the lessor refuses to pay for the labor or materials furnished, the person furnishing the labor or materials may remove the same from the premises, if this can be done without material injury to any previous improvement on the premises.

§ 376.050. Mortgage for Building and Improvement Purposes to State Facts; Misapplication of Proceeds

(1) Any mortgage taken to secure a loan made for the purpose of erecting, improving or adding to a building shall state such facts. (2) No person shall willfully misappropriate or misapply the proceeds received from such a loan.

§ 376.060. Sale or Mortgage of Property Subject to Lien; Proceeds to Be Applied to Payment of Lien

If the owner of any legal or equitable interest in land or improvements thereon contracts for labor or material used in the erection, repair or improvement of any structure thereon under such circumstances that a lien for the payment therefor may attach to the property, and sells or mortgages the property before the expiration of the time provided for the filing and recording of a mechanic’s or materialman’s lien, he shall, on receiving the consideration for the sale or the proceeds of the loan, pay in full any sum owing for the labor and materials, unless released in writing by the person furnishing the labor or materials. If the sum received is insufficient to make such payment in full, the owner shall make pro rata payments on all claims for such labor and materials.

§ 376.070. Contractor or Architect to Apply Payments to Claims; Exception Where Lien Waived

(1) Any contractor, architect or other person who builds, repairs or improves the property of another under such circumstances that a mechanic’s or materialman’s lien may be imposed on the property shall, from the proceeds of any payment received from the owner, pay in full all persons who have furnished material or performed labor on the property. (2) If any payment by the owner to the contractor, architect or other person is not sufficient to pay in full all bills for material and labor, then such claims shall be paid on a pro rata basis to the amount of payments received, unless otherwise agreed between the contractor, architect or other person and the holder of the claim for material or labor. (3) This section shall not apply where persons furnishing material or performing labor have waived in writing their right to file mechanics’ or materialmen’s liens.

§ 376.075. Engineers', Architects', Landscape Architects', Real Estate Brokers', and Land Surveyors' Liens; When Lien Not Required of Real Estate Broker; Filing Statement of Amount Claimed

(1) Any professional engineer, licensed architect, licensed landscape architect, real estate broker, or professional land surveyor who performs professional services or services as defined in KRS 322.010(4) for professional engineers, KRS 323.010(3) for architects, KRS 323A.010(3) for landscape architects, KRS 324.010(1) for real estate brokers, and KRS 322.010(10) for professional land surveyors shall have a lien on the building, structure, land, or project relative to which the services were performed, to secure the amount of the charges for services with interest as provided in KRS 360.040 and costs.
(2) The provisions of KRS 376.010(1) and (2) shall determine when a lien created under this section shall take precedence over a mortgage or other contract lien or bona fide conveyance for value without notice.
(3) No person who has not contracted directly with the owner or his agent shall acquire a lien under this section.
(4) Any lien provided for under this section shall be dissolved unless the claimant, within six (6) months after he ceases to provide services, files in the office of the county clerk of the county in which the property is situated a statement of the amount due the claimant, with all just credits and setoffs known to him, together with a description of the property intended to be covered by the lien sufficiently accurate to identify it, the name of the owner, if known, and whether the services were furnished by contract with the owner or with a contractor or architect. This statement shall be subscribed and sworn to by the person claiming the lien or by someone in his behalf.
(5) Any lien created under this section shall be dissolved unless an action is brought to enforce the lien within twelve (12) months from the day of filing the statement in the clerk’s office as required by subsection (4) of this section. If the lienholder complies with all filing requirements under this section, and does so within the time fixed, his lien shall be valid and effective against any creditor of, or bona fide or other purchaser from, the owner of the property.
(6) The provisions of this section shall in no way abridge or conflict with the provisions of KRS 376.210 which provide for liens on public improvements, and any potential lien or valid lien of a professional engineer, architect, landscape architect, real estate broker, or professional land surveyor on a public improvement shall be governed by KRS 376.210.
(7) No real estate broker shall acquire a lien under this section relative to newly constructed residential real estate unless the purchaser has agreed in writing to directly compensate such broker for performing brokerage services related to the transaction.
(8) No real estate broker shall acquire a lien under this section unless:
(a) The owner or the owner’s authorized agent:
1. Lists the subject property with the broker under the terms of a written agreement to sell, lease, or otherwise convey any interest in the subject property; or
2. Agrees in a written agreement to pay the broker a fee for his or her services as a buyer’s representative; and
(b) The broker or the broker’s affiliated sales associate provides licensed services that result, during the term of a written agreement described in paragraph (a) of this subsection, in the procuring of a person or entity ready, willing, and able to purchase, lease, or otherwise accept a conveyance of the property or any interest in the property:
1. Upon terms contained in a written agreement described in paragraph (a) of this subsection; or
2. Upon terms that are otherwise acceptable to the owner or the owner’s authorized agent as evidenced by a written agreement to convey any interest in the property signed by the owner or the owner’s authorized agent.

§ 376.080. Lien Dissolved Unless Statement Filed With County Clerk and Copy Mailed to Property Owner, Form of Statement

(1) Any lien provided for in KRS 376.010 shall be dissolved unless the claimant, within six (6) months after he ceases to labor or furnish materials, files in the office of the county clerk of the county in which the building or improvement is situated a statement of the amount due him, with all just credits and set-offs known to him, together with a description of the property intended to be covered by the lien sufficiently accurate to identify it, the name of the owner, if known, and whether the materials were furnished or the labor performed by contract with the owner or with a contractor or subcontractor. Lien statement forms shall require the name and address of the claimant. If the claimant is a corporation, the statement shall require the name and address of the corporation’s process agent, or some other address at which service of process under the Rules of Civil Procedure may be accomplished. If no name and address is included in the statement, service of process in an action involving the real property may be accomplished by serving the person who signs the lien statement. This statement shall be subscribed and sworn to by the person claiming the lien or by someone in his behalf. The claimant shall send by regular mail a copy of the statement to the property owner at his last known address within seven (7) days of filing the statement with the county clerk. Any lien provided for in KRS 376.010 shall be dissolved if a copy of the statement is not sent to the property owner as provided in this subsection.
(2) The county clerk shall endorse upon each statement the date of its filing, and shall make an abstract of the statement in a book to be kept by him for that purpose, properly endorsed and indexed, containing the date of filing, the name of the person seeking to enforce the lien, the amount claimed, the name of the person against whose property the lien is filed, and a description of the property charged with the lien. The clerk shall receive a fee pursuant to KRS 64.012 from the person filing the statement as full compensation, which shall be taxed and collected as other costs.

§ 376.090. Limitation on Action to Enforce Lien; Priority of Lien

(1) Any lien provided for in KRS 376.010 shall be deemed dissolved unless an action is brought to enforce the lien within twelve (12) months from the day of filing the statement in the clerk’s office, as required by KRS 376.080. If the debtor against whose property the lien is claimed dies before the expiration of the time prescribed for bringing the action, a further period of six (6) months from the date of the qualification of his personal representative shall be allowed within which the action may be brought.
(2) Any lien provided for in KRS 376.010 shall, if the lienholder complies with the requirements of KRS 376.080 and subsection (1) of this section, and does so within the time therein fixed, be valid and effectual against any creditor of, or bona fide or other purchaser from, the owner of the property.

§ 376.100. Release of Lien by Execution of Bond

The owner or claimant of property against which a lien has been asserted, or any contractor or other person contracting with the owner or claimant of such property for the furnishing of any improvements or services for which a lien is created by this chapter or any subcontractor or other person in privity with the contractor, may, at any time before a judgment is rendered enforcing the lien, execute before the county clerk in which the lien was filed a bond for double the amount of the lien claimed with good sureties to be approved by the clerk, conditioned upon the obligors satisfying any judgment that may be rendered in favor of the person asserting the lien. The bond shall be preserved by the clerk, and upon its execution the lien upon the property shall be discharged. The person asserting the lien may make the obligors in the bond parties to any action to enforce his claim, and any judgment recovered may be against all or any of the obligors on the bond.

§ 376.110. Action to Enforce Lien; Referred to Master Commissioner; Special Commissioner

(1) An action to enforce a lien provided for in KRS 376.010 shall be by equitable proceedings, and conducted as other proceedings in equity in similar cases except as otherwise provided. The petition shall allege the facts necessary to secure a lien, and shall describe the property charged and the interest the plaintiff seeks to subject. As many of the lien-holders as wish to do so may unite in the action as plaintiffs, and those who are not plaintiffs shall be made defendants. The debtor or his personal representative or heirs or devisees, and all other persons having liens on or interests in the property sought to be subjected, shall be made defendants. The clerk of the court in which the petition is filed shall issue the proper process against the resident defenders, enter warning orders against the nonresidents and appoint an attorney to defend for them, and appoint guardians for the infants. After the expiration of ten (10) days from the filing of the petition, the clerk of the court in which the petition was filed shall draw up an order referring the action to the master commissioner of the court and file it with the petition, deliver to the commissioner the pleadings and papers of the action, and make a memorandum thereof in his minute book.
(2) If for any cause it should be improper to refer the case to the master commissioner, he is then directed to select some suitable person to act as commissioner for the occasion and refer the case to him; but before such person shall proceed to act, he shall, before the clerk, take an oath, and execute bond, with sufficient surety, similar in all respects to the bond required to be executed by the master commissioner, which bond shall be preserved by the clerk, and reported to the court.

§ 376.120. Notice to Parties of Time and Place of Hearing by Commissioner

(1) The commissioner shall immediately ascertain the name of each person who has filed a lien against the property sought to be subjected, and fix a time and place at which he will hear proof touching claims against the property. Any person holding a lien against the property, whether arising under the provisions of KRS 376.010 or otherwise, is required to present his claim with the evidence in its support to the commissioner. The owner of the property, or any other person whose interest may be affected by the action, may contest any claim presented.
(2) Any person shall be deemed a party to the action, though not made so by the pleadings or by the service of process, who presents to the commissioner a claim against the property sought to be subjected or who appears before the commissioner to contest the claim of another.
(3) The commissioner shall give reasonable written notice to all parties to the action, and to any other lien-holders known to him or those that reside in the county, or to their attorneys, of the time and place of receiving proof of claims. He shall also post a similar notice on the front door of the courthouse of the county.

§ 376.130. Taking of Depositions and Hearing of Evidence by the Commissioner; Auditing of Accounts and Report on Claims

The commissioner shall issue subpoenas for witnesses to appear before him at his sittings, and upon their failure to attend he shall issue attachments as in other cases. The commissioner shall have the same power and authority as an examiner in taking depositions, and shall be governed by the same rules and regulations in respect to the evidence which may be produced before him. He may adjourn from day to day and from time to time, until his duties in the action have been completed and he is ready to report. He shall audit the statements, and make up his report showing the amount due to each claimant, the nature and character of the respective liens, and the evidence upon which each claim was allowed.

§ 376.210. Lien for Labor, Material, or Supplies Furnished on Public Improvement; Assertion, Filing, and Enforcement

(1) Any person, firm, or corporation who performs labor or furnishes materials or supplies for the construction, maintenance, or improvement of any canal, railroad, bridge, public highway, or other public improvement in this state by contract, express or implied, with the owner thereof or by subcontract thereunder shall have a lien thereon, and upon all the property and the franchises of the owner, except property owned by the state, a subdivision or agency thereof, or by any city, county, urban-county, or charter county government. If the property improved is owned by the state or by any subdivision or agency thereof, or by any city, county, urban-county, or charter county government, the person furnishing the labor, materials, or supplies shall have a lien on the funds due the contractor from the owner of the property improved. Except as provided in KRS 376.195, the lien shall be for the full contract price of the labor, materials, and supplies furnished, and shall be superior to all other liens thereafter created.
(2) Any person undertaking or expecting to furnish labor, materials, or supplies as provided in this section may acquire the lien herein provided by filing in the clerk’s office of each county in which he has undertaken to furnish labor, materials, or supplies, except as provided in subsection (3), a statement in writing that he has undertaken and expects to furnish labor, materials, or supplies and the price at which they are to be furnished, and the lien for labor, material, or supplies furnished thereafter shall relate back and take effect from the date of the filing of the statement. In all cases of original construction the liens shall be prior to all liens theretofore or thereafter created on the part so constructed and on no other part.
(3) In all cases where the labor, materials, or supplies are furnished for the improvement of any public highway or other public property owned by the state or by any city, county, urban-county, or charter county government, the statement shall be filed in the county clerk’s office of the county in which is located the seat of government of the owner of the property improved, and the lien shall attach only to any unpaid balance due the contractor for the improvement from the time a copy of the statement, attested by the county clerk, is delivered to the owner or the owner’s authorized agent with whom the contract for improving the public highway or other public property was made.

§ 376.212. Bond to Discharge Lien Created by KRS 376.210; Requirements; Liability of Obligors on Bond

(1) Any contractor or other person contracting with the public authority for the furnishing of any improvements or services for which a lien is created by KRS 376.210 or any person in privity with the contractor or other person may, at any time before a judgment is rendered enforcing the lien, execute before the county clerk in the county in which the lien was filed a bond for double the amount of the lien claimed.
(2) The bond executed under subsection (1) of this section shall be subject to the following conditions:
(a) The bond shall be approved by the clerk only if the bond is secured by:
1. Cash;
2. A letter of credit from a bank; or
3. Surety insurance as defined by KRS 304.5-060 that is issued by a licensed insurer; and
(b) The bond shall require that the obligor satisfy any judgment that may be rendered in favor of the person asserting the lien.
(3) The bond shall be preserved by the clerk, and upon its execution, the lien provided by KRS 376.210 shall be discharged.
(4) The person asserting the lien may make the obligors on the bond parties to any action to enforce his claim, and any judgment received may be against any of the obligors on the bond.”

§ 376.220. Limit of Amount of Lien; Pro Rata Distribution; Liability for Filing Claim in Excess of Amount Due

(1) The liens provided for in KRS 376.210 shall not be for a greater amount in the aggregate than the contract price of the original contractor, and should the aggregate amount of liens exceed the price agreed upon between the original contractor and the owner there shall be a pro rata distribution of the original contract price among the lien-holders.
(2) On claims for labor, materials or supplies furnished for the improvement of any bridge, public highway or other public property owned by the state or by any county or city, the provisions of this section for a pro rata distribution of the original contract price among lien-holders shall not apply to liens on the unpaid balance due the contractors, except as provided in KRS 376.240.
(3) If any person files a statement asserting a lien against any contractor on any fund due the contractor, for an amount in excess of the amount actually due, the person filing the lien shall be liable to any person damaged thereby to the extent of such damage, including reasonable court costs and attorney’s fees incurred by the injured parties. Any such claim for damages may be asserted and prosecuted in the county in which the lien statement was filed.

§ 376.230. Lien Dissolved Unless Statement Timely Filed With County Clerk; Form and Content of Statement; Duties and Fees of Clerk

(1) The lien provided for in KRS 376.210 shall be dissolved unless the person who furnishes the labor, materials, or supplies shall, whichever is later, within sixty (60) days after the last day of the month in which any labor, materials, or supplies were furnished, or by the date of substantial completion, file in the county clerk’s office of each county in which labor, materials, or supplies were furnished, except as hereinafter provided, a statement in writing verified by affidavit of the claimant or his or her authorized agent or attorney, setting forth the amount due for which the lien is claimed, the date on which labor, materials, or supplies were last furnished and the name of the canal, railroad, bridge, public highway, or other public improvement upon which it is claimed.
(2) In all cases where a lien is claimed for labor, materials, or supplies furnished for the improvement of any bridge, public highway, or other public property owned by the state or by any county, charter county, urban-county, consolidated local government, or city, the statement of lien shall be filed only in the county clerk’s office of the county in which the seat of government of the owner of the property is located.
(3) The county clerk, upon the filing of the statement, shall make an abstract and entry thereof as now provided by law in case of mechanics’ liens in the same book used for that purpose, and shall make proper index thereof. The clerk shall be paid by the party filing the claim, and for attesting any copy of the lien statement. If he or she is required to make the copy, he or she may make an additional charge as provided by law. The clerk’s fees shall be determined pursuant to KRS 64.012. All of these charges may be recovered by the lien claimant as costs from the party and out of the fund against which the claim is filed.

§ 376.240. Perfecting a Lien on Funds Due Contractor from Public Authority

Upon the filing of the statement of lien provided for in subsection (2) of KRS 376.230 in the county clerk’s office and the delivery of an attested copy thereof to the public authority making the contract for the improvement of any bridge, public highway or other public property owned by the state or any county or city, and the filing with the public authority of a signed copy of a letter addressed to the contractor or subcontractor at his address given in the contract, with a post office receipt showing that an attested copy of the lien statement has been sent by the lien claimant to the contractor or subcontractor by certified mail, return receipt requested or by registered mail, the claimant shall have a lien superior to any lien subsequently perfected on any unpaid balance due the contractor under the contract of improvement.

§ 376.250. Withholding by Public Authority of Funds Due Contractor and Their Payment to Lien Claimant; Protest by Contractor; Suit by Lien Claimant

(1) When an attested copy of the lien statement and proof of the delivery of an attested copy as provided in KRS 376.240 is delivered to any public authority which has contracted for the construction or improvement of any bridge, public highway, or other public property owned by the state, a subdivision or agency thereof, or by any city, county, urban-county, or charter county government, the public authority shall endorse on the attested copy the date of its receipt, file the copy and deduct and withhold the amount thereof, plus pursuant to KRS 64.012 to cover the fee of the county clerk for filing the statement and attesting a copy, from any amount then due the contractor, and if a sufficient amount is not then due the contractor from the next payments which become due.
(2) Unless the contractor, within thirty (30) days from the date of the delivery of the attested copy, files with the public authority a written protest putting in issue the correctness of the amount due the lien claimant or the liability of the fund for payment thereof, the amount withheld shall be paid by the public authority to the lien claimant and charged to the account of the contractor, which payment shall operate as a pro tanto release of the public authority from any claim of the contractor under the contract for the amount so paid. The filing in the county clerk’s office of the statement of lien provided for in KRS 376.230(2) shall be constructive notice to the contractor of the filing of the claim.
(3) If the contractor files a written protest as provided in subsection (2) of this section, the public authority with whom the protest is filed shall endorse thereon the date of its receipt. The public authority shall promptly send written notice of the protest to the lien claimant by certified mail, return receipt requested and shall not pay over to the lien claimant any of the money withheld from the contractor until authorized to do so by the contractor or until directed to do so by an order or judgment of court.
(4) If suit is not instituted by the lien claimant for the enforcement of the lien and summons in the suit is not served on the public authority or its chairman within thirty (30) days after the written notice of the protest is mailed to the claimant, then the lien shall automatically be released and the funds withheld pursuant to the filing of the lien statement shall be released and promptly paid to the contractor. If suit is filed and summons served within the time provided, the payment of the funds shall be withheld until ordered to be released or paid over by an order or judgment of the court, and then paid as directed by the order or judgment.
(5) All suits for the enforcement of these liens on public funds shall be instituted in the Circuit Court of the county in which is located the property on which the improvement is made, except where the property is owned by a public university. Where the property is owned by a public university, the suit shall be instituted in the Circuit Court of the county in which is located the main campus of the public university. This court shall have exclusive jurisdiction for the enforcement of liens asserted against the public funds due the contractors, subject to the same rights of appeal as in other civil cases.

§ 376.260. Action to Enforce Lien; Notice; Limitation; Proof of Use of Materials

(1) Any lien acquired under KRS 376.210 shall be enforced by proper proceedings in equity, to which other lien-holders shall be made parties. If a court action is filed to enforce a lien acquired under KRS 376.210 and the owner of the property is the state, a subdivision or agency thereof, or any city, county, urban-county, or charter county government, that owner shall be given notice of the court action to enforce the lien, but that owner shall not be required to respond to or participate in the court action. The proceedings shall be begun within six (6) months from the filing of the claim in the county clerk’s office, except as provided in subsection (4) of KRS 376.250. (2) If, in any suit brought for the enforcement of a lien, it is shown by evidence that the items embraced in the account were sold and delivered for use on a particular project or public work, that evidence shall make out a prima facie case that those items were used in the performance of the contract.