KENTUCKY

LIEN LAWS BY STATE
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KENTUCKY REVISED STATUTES

Revised to 1997

Prepared by: Craig R. Altman – President, TRADITION SOFTWARE, INC.

Subcontractors in KENTUCKY don’t have to provide a 1st notice of private projects. However, a Preliminary Notice (Private Commercial or Residential Project) is an optional document that can be served to all legal parties on a project (Customer, Owner, General Contractor, Lender) after first furnishing construction related labor, professional services, materials, machinery, fixtures or tools to a jobsite. It improves your chances of being paid on a timely basis, as it notifies all legal parties of your future right to file a Bond Claim, Statement Of Lien or Stop Notice in the event you are not paid on a timely basis.

On Public projects (city, county, state, authority) KENTUCKY Revised Statutes § 376.210 mandates that a Preliminary Notice (Public Works Project) can be filed by a Subcontractor furnishing construction related labor, professional services, materials, machinery, fixtures or tools on a Public Projects works project. It should be filed in the clerk’s office for each county where the public improvement has been made. A recorded copy of the notice should then be delivered in person, or by Certified Mail, to the Public Entity that owns the property being improved. It is advisable that any other legal parties related to the improvement of the property (Customer, Lender/Surety and General Contractor) get sent the Preliminary Notice.

KENTUCKY Revised Statutes § 376.010 does mandate that a Subcontractor on a commercial or residential project must deliver a Notice To Owner to the Owner and General/Prime Contractor prior to filing a Statement of LIen. The Notice should be delivered in person or by Certified Mail to the Owner of the property and the General/Prime Contractor along with any other legal parties related to the improvement of the property (Customer, Lender). It must be delivered no later than seventy-five (75) days after last providing labor or materials (residential, commercial less than $1,000) or one hundred twenty (120) days for commercial claims greater than $1,000.

General/Prime/Sub Contractors (Private Projects): KENTUCKY Revised Statutes § 376.080 mandates that a Statement of Lien-Private Project (Mechanic’s Lien) must be recorded no later than six (6) months after the last day that labor, skills, services or machinery are furnished for a project. It is recorded at the County County Clerk’s Office in the county where a project you provided labor, skills, services or machinery are furnished for a project. You then have seven (7) days to deliver a Statement of Lien-Private Project (Mechanic’s Lien) in person or by Certified Mail to the Owner of the property along with any other legal parties related to the improvement of the property (General/Prime Contractor, Customer, Lender).

CHAPTER 376 STATUTORY LIENS

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

376.020 Lien Follows Property if Executory Contract for Sale is Rescinded

376.030 Eviction of Owner – Rights of Lienholder

376.040 Forfeiture or Surrender of Lease – Removal of Improvements

376.050 Mortgage for Building or Improvement Purposes to State Facts – Misapplication of Proceeds

376.060 Sale or Mortgage of Property Subject to Lien – Proceeds to be Applied to Payment of Lien

376.070 Contractor or Architect to Apply Payments to Claims – Exception Where Lien Waived

376.075 Engineers’, Architects’, Landscape Architects’, and Land Surveyors’ Liens – File Statement of Amount Claimed

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

376.090 Limitation on Action to Enforce Lien – Priority of Lien

376.100 Release of Lien by Execution of Bond

376.110 Action to Enforce Lien – Referred to Master Commissioner – Special Commissioner

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

376.130 Taking of Depositions and Hearing of Evidence by the Commissioner – Auditing of Accounts and Report on Claims

376.135 Lien on Farm Crop for Service by Customer Operator

376.140 Lien on Gas, Oil or Other Mineral Leasehold – Provisions Governing such a Lien

376.150 Lien of Employees on Property of a Mine, Railroad, Public Improvement Company, Manufacturing Establishment or Other Business – Of Persons Furnishing Supplies for Operation of a Railroad

376.160 Priority of Liens – Persons Not Deemed Employees

376.170 Distribution of Income When Operation of Property is Continued

376.180 Lien Attaches When Business is Transferred, Suspended or Attached – Enforcement

376.190 Joinder of Parties – Limitation on Action or Filing of Claim for Lien

376.195 Definitions for KRS 376.195 and 376.210

376.200 Repealed, 1954

376.205 Repealed, 1966

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

376.220 Limit of Amount of Lien – Pro Rata Distribution – Liability for Filing Claim in Excess of Amount Due

376.230 Lien Dissolved Unless Statement Filed with County Clerk Within Thirty Days – Form and Content of Statement – Duties and Fees of Clerk

376.240 Perfecting a Lien on Funds Due Contractor from Public Authority

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

376.260 Limitation on Action to Enforce Lien – Proof of Use of Materials

376.990 Penalties

CHAPTER 376 STATUTORY LIENS

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 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 of the original contractor, and should the aggregate amount of the lien 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, 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, or 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 thereon, 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 forty-five (45) 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.

(Amended 1994)

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.

(Amended 1944)

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.

(Effective October 1, 1942)

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 terms 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.

(Effective October 1, 1942)

376.050 Mortgage for Building or 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.

(Effective October 1, 1942)

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 therefore 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.

(Effective October 1, 1942)

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 payment 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.

(Effective October 1, 1942)

376.075 Engineers’, Architects’, Landscape Architects’, and Land Surveyors’ Liens – File Statement of Amount Claimed

(1) Any licensed engineer, licensed architect, licensed landscape architect, and land surveyor who performs professional services as defined in KRS 322.010(3) for engineers, KRS 323.010(3) for architects, KRS 323A.010(3) for landscape architects, and KRS 322.010(5) for land surveyors shall have a lien on the building, structure, land, or project on 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 on 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 an engineer, architect, landscape architect, or land surveyor on a public improvement shall be governed by KRS 376.210.

(Amended 1992)

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 on 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.

(Amended 1990)

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 lien-holder 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.

(Effective October 1, 1942)

376.100 Release of Lien by Execution of Bond

The owner or claimant of property against which a lien has been asserted, or any 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, 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.

(Amended 1986)

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 to 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.

(Amended 1978)

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.

(Effective October 1, 1942)

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.

(Effective October 1, 1942)

376.135 Lien on Farm Crop for Service by Customer Operator

(1) Any custom operator who performs a service on a farm, including but not limited to filling of silos, hay baling and crop spraying, by contract with, or by the written consent of the owner or manager of the farm, shall have a lien upon the farm crop involved to secure the cost of the service furnished.

(2) The recording provisions of KRS 376.010 and 376.080 to 376.130 shall apply to the lien provided in subsection (1) of this section.

(Created 1972)

376.140 Lien on Gas, Oil or Other Mineral Leasehold – Provisions Governing such a Lien

(1) Any person who performs labor or furnishes materials, supplies, fixtures, machinery or other things of value to a lessee holding or owning a leasehold, or any right conferred by a lease, relating to oil, gas or other minerals, in the development or improvement of the leasehold, by contract with or by the written consent of the owner or the agent or representative of the owner of the leasehold, shall have a lien on the leasehold or the entire interest of the lessee including oil or gas wells, machinery and equipment, to secure the payment for the labor or things furnished. If the labor or things furnished at the written request or by the written consent of any contractor or subcontractor, or the agent of either, the lien herein given shall be for the benefit of whoever may furnish any of the labor or things mentioned. The lien herein provided for shall be effective against the leasehold, or the entire interest of the lessee therein, including all improvements thereon belonging to the lessee.

(2) If the lessee claims by executory contract, and if for any cause, the contract shall be rescinded or set aside, the lien provided for in subsection (1) of this section shall follow the leasehold into the hands of the person to whom the same may go, or with whom it may remain by reason of the rescission. If by the rescission the interest covered by the lease becomes vested in the lessor, the interest so covered by the lease shall be subject to said lien. If the lessee should be evicted from the possession of the leasehold by the judgment of a court, the lien shall nevertheless be effective against the leasehold and the improvements placed thereon by the lessee or those under whom he claims, while he or they were in possession thereof. If the lease expires or is forfeited, or the lessee in any other way loses his rights thereunder, the lien provided for shall nevertheless be effective against the leasehold, whoever may be the owner thereof, to the extent of the interest held by the lessee at the time the labor was performed or the things mentioned furnished, and this shall be true although the interest of the lessee may revert to the lessor. The lien-holder may elect to remove any improvements from the premises if it can be done without material injury to any previous improvements on the leasehold, and when the election is made and improvement is removed the owner of the leasehold shall be given credit by the value of the improvements so removed and the lien-holder may enforce his lien to the extent of any balance remaining unpaid.

(3) The provisions of KRS 376.010 and KRS 376.080 to 376.130 shall apply to the lien provided for in subsection (1) of this section. When necessary for the purposes of such application, “owner” shall be construed to mean “lessee” and “property” to mean “leasehold.”

(Effective October 1, 1942)

376.150 Lien of Employees on Property of a Mine, Railroad, Public Improvement Company, Manufacturing Establishment or Other Business – Of Persons Furnishing Supplies for Operation of a Railroad

(1) When the property or effects of any mine, railroad or canal, or other public improvement company, or of any rolling mill, foundry or other manufacturing establishment, or of any other business, whether incorporated or not, are assigned for the benefit of, or are to be distributed among creditors, whether by operation of law or by its own act, the employees of the owner or operator of the business shall have a lien upon the property and effects which have been involved in the business and upon the accessories connected therewith, including any interest in real property used in carrying on the business.

(2) Any person who has furnished materials or supplies for carrying on or operating any railroad shall likewise have a lien upon the property of the company involved in the business and upon the accessories connected therewith, including the interest of the company in the real property used in carrying on the business.

(Amended 1952)

376.160 Priority of Liens – Persons Not Deemed Employees

Any lien provided for in KRS 376.150 and 376.180 shall be superior to the lien of any mortgage or other encumbrance thereafter created, and shall be for the whole amount due the employees as such, or due for such materials or supplies. Liens of employees for wages coming due to them within six months before the property or effects shall come to be distributed among the creditors shall be superior to the lien of any mortgage or other encumbrance theretofore or thereafter created. No president or other chief officer, nor any director or stockholder of any such company, shall be deemed an employee within the meaning of KRS 376.150.

(Effective October 1, 1942)

376.170 Distribution of Income When Operation of Property is Continued

If the trustee or other person having the administration or distribution of the property or effects continues to operate the business, he shall, at the end of each calendar month, after payment of current expenses and any debt due the United States or this state, distribute the remaining money in his hands pro rata among the persons to whom a lien is given by KRS 376.150 and 376.180, except twenty percent (20%) thereof which he may, if necessary, reserve for contingent expenses.

(Effective October 1, 1942)

376.180 Lien Attaches When Business is Transferred, Suspended or Attached – Enforcement

When any company or establishment referred to in KRS 376.150 suspends, sells or transfers its business, or when the property or effects engaged in the business are taken in attachment or execution so that the business is stopped or suspended, a lien shall attach as provided in KRS 376.150 and may be enforced by proceedings in equity.

(Effective October 1, 1942)

376.190 Joinder of Parties – Limitation on Action or Filing of Claim for Lien

The plaintiff in an action to enforce a lien given by KRS 376.150 or 376.180 may unite with him as co-plaintiffs any similar lien-holders who consent thereto, and shall make all lien-holders and encumbrancers parties. Where the parties are numerous, any one (1) or more may be designated by the court to prosecute or defend for the same class. Action to enforce the lien shall be filed within sixty (60) days from the date of the assignment, or from the date when the property goes into the hands of a receiver or trustee, or from the date when the business is stopped, suspended or sold; or the claims for which a lien is asserted shall be filed in said time with the person authorized to receive and report claims.

(Effective October 1, 1942)

376.195 Definitions for KRS 376.195 and 376.210

As used in this section and in subsection (1) of KRS 376.210:

(1) “Labor” includes all work done by teams, trucks, machinery, and mechanical equipment, whether the owner furnishes a driver or operator or not, but it shall not include labor performed by any officer, superintendent or stockholder of any corporation even though he may perform manual labor on the public work;

(2) “Materials” includes all materials of every kind or character used in the public improvement which shall remain as part of the completed improvement, and all the materials substantially consumed or the value thereof substantially destroyed in making the public improvement, including explosives, gasoline, oil, grease, form lumber and other similar articles; and

(3) “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;

(4) “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;

(a) The lien for rental of 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
(b) The liens for supplies as defined in this subsection are subordinate to the liens for labor, material and supplies as defined in subsections (1) to (3) of this subsection.

(Amended 1968)

376.200 Repealed, 1954

376.205 Repealed, 1966

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 an the franchises of the owner, except property owned by the state, a subdivision or agency thereof, or by any county or city. If the property improved is owned by the state or by any subdivision or agency thereof, or by any county or city, 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 county or city, 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.

(Amended 1966)

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.

(Effective October 1, 1942)

376.230 Lien Dissolved Unless Statement Filed with County Clerk Within Thirty Days – 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 within thirty (30) days after the last day of the month in which any labor, materials or supplies were furnished, 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 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 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 is required to make the copy, he 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.

(Amended 1978)

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 or improvement.

(Amended 1974)

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, or by any county or city, 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 $1.25 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 contract from the next payments which become due.

(2) Unless the contractor, within thirty 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 contractor for the amount so paid. The filing in the county clerk’s office of the statement of lien provided for in subsection (2) of KRS 376.230 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, 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 days after the filing by the contractor of the protest, 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 seat of government of the owner of the property on which the improvement is made. 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.

(Effective October 1, 1942)

376.260 Limitation on Action to Enforce Lien – 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. 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.

(Effective October 1, 1942)

376.990 Penalties

(1) Any person who violates the provisions of subsection (2) of KRS 376.050 shall be guilty of a Class D felony.

(2) Any person who violates any of the provisions of KRS 376.060 or 376.070 shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

(Amended 1992)