This is a continuation of the series of blogs on preserving your rights to get paid on a construction project.  The most effective tool you have to get paid is by filing a construction lien.  But, there’s a lot to consider before you file that lien.  This blog will cover how long your lien will last once it is filed.

The Nebraska Construction Lien Act provides that your lien will be effective for two years after recording of the lien.  Neb.Rev.Stat. § 52-140.  If you do not institute judicial proceedings to foreclose your lien within those two years, your lien will lapse.

There is, however, a twist to how long your lien will remain effective.  If the owner or another party with an interest makes a written demand that you institute a judicial proceeding to enforce your lien rights, you must file your lawsuit within thirty days or the lien will lapse.

For owners or upstream contractors, this can be a tremendous tool to eliminate frivolous liens.  It should also be a warning to contractors that you may have a very short window in which to enforce your lien.

As noted above, the loss of your lien rights is not the death knell to your claim, but keep in mind that you can recover attorney’s fees under a construction lien claim.  If you have no lien, you may lose your right to recover your attorney’s fees.

Take Away: You have two years to enforce your lien rights unless you receive notice demanding that you enforce your lien rights–then you have 30 days.