May 30, 2006Client Alert

Wisconsin Lien Law Revised

Recent revisions to Wisconsin lien law expand the scope of lienable services, relax the rules for when lien notices are required, expand the permitted means of delivery of required notices and modify the language of required notices. Highlights of the revisions include:

Expansion of Lienable Services. Repair work is now a lienable service. The revisions also expand the scope of lienable materials to include "any construction materials, supplies, tools, fixtures, equipment, machinery, vehicles, fuel and energy" that are used or consumed for the improvement and eliminate the need that the lienable work be provided for the "permanent"

benefit of property. Finally, the definition of "prime contractor" is changed to expressly include construction managers and other service providers.

Preliminary Notice Language. A prime contractor's and subcontractor's preliminary lien notice language must substantially comply with the notice language of the lien statute. The notice language has been slightly modified and, therefore, preliminary notices must substantially comply with the new language.

10,000 Square Foot Rule. Under the old law, preliminary lien notice was not required for commercial projects where more than 10,000 sq. ft. of floor space was to be provided. Under the revised law, the preliminary notice is not required for any project that is partly or wholly nonresidential in character, regardless of the square footage.

Service of Lien Notices. Under the old law, lien notices were required to be served via registered mail with return receipt requested. Under the revised law, service may also be accomplished by certified mail or any other means of delivery in which the recipient makes written confirmation of the delivery.

Notice of Lien Filing. Under the old law, a lien claimant was not required to serve the property owner with a copy of the lien. The revised law requires the lien claimant to do so within 30 days of filing the lien.

The revisions to the lien law apply to improvements that visibly commence on the effective date of the revisions, which is April 11, 2006. For more information, please contact Dave Krutz at 262.956.6550, or

back to top