Washington’s construction lien statute, RCW 60.04, balances the interests of persons performing work to improve real property with the interests of property owners in avoiding the necessity of paying for the same work twice. An unpaid contractor can assert a lien against property it has improved, but the owner has a right to notice that the work is taking place. On commercial projects, a contractor that is not under contract with the owner or prime contractor (a “lower-tier” subcontractor) usually must give a pre-claim notice to the owner to preserve its lien right. A contractor supplying only labor is expressly exempt from this requirement, though there has been some question regarding whether a lower-tier subcontractor providing both labor and materials is subject to the notice requirement.

Among the many effects on the U.S. economy of the COVID-19 pandemic, construction projects that started before it began but were halted in its aftermath may be slow to resume or be abandoned altogether thanks to funding issues. Contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers feel immense pressure to protect and preserve their rights to payment for work

Some economic indicators point to a recession in the not-too-distant future, and parties involved in construction projects should take steps to avoid (or perfect) liens and protect their rights if there is a downturn. The complexities of Oregon’s lien laws are best negotiated with the assistance of experienced counsel. In my inaugural article for the

Recently, Division One of the Washington Court of Appeals issued an opinion providing guidance regarding the scope of Washington’s frivolous lien statute and the subtle intricacies of preparing and filing a construction lien against a condominium project.   This article provides a high-level overview of how to file a lien against a condominium project in Washington

It seems that almost weekly, and certainly monthly, I receive a call or inquiry from colleagues and/or prospective clients as to whether a license is really required if the prospective “contractor” is not actually building anything but is merely facilitating a “deal” or is hiring otherwise qualified and licensed contractors and trades. Virtually every time

A question left open in Stoel Rives’ recent Washington lien law treatise relates to the lien rights of employee benefit plans. The rights granted in RCW 60.04.011(4) (where benefit plans are included in the definition of “furnishing labor”) were called into question by two Washington Supreme Court decisions barring employee benefit plans from pursuing lien-like

In my latest Daily Journal of Commerce Construction column, I discuss the construction lien rights for architects and engineers in Washington and Oregon.  In these states, once construction lien rights have arisen the law requires further acts (such as sending notices to the project owner or recording formal notices within specific time frames) to keep

We are pleased to announce the publication of a new Stoel Rives Washington state lien law treatise. Written by construction law attorneys Karl Oles and Bart Reed, the treatise builds on two earlier works: Professor Brian A. Blum’s Mechanics’ and Construction Liens in Alaska, Oregon and Washington, and Michael F. Keyes Construction Lien

In a case of first impression in Idaho, the Supreme Court in American Bank v. Wadsworth Golf Construction Co. of Southwest, No. 39415 (Idaho Aug. 16, 2013) (slip op.), determined that priority of lien filings on a property remain subject to a lien priority analysis even after a statutory lien release bond is filed

Washington’s lien laws, like those of other states, set forth pre-claim notice requirements that, if not satisfied, may result in the forfeiture of lien rights. The applicable statute, RCW 60.04.031, presents an interesting array of “if-then” scenarios in which the notice requirements are imposed. Generally, unless falling under one of three exempted categories, RCW 60.04.031