UTAH

LIEN LAWS BY STATE
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UTAH CODE
TITLE 38 LIENS

CHAPTER 1 MECHANICS’ LIENS

38-1-1 Public Projects Excluded

38-1-2 “Contractor”, “Subcontractor”

38-1-3 Persons Entitled to Lien, Restrictions

38-1-4 Property to Which Lien Attaches

38-1-5 Priorities

38-1-6 Priorities, Attachments

38-1-7 Claim of Lien, Recording, Time, Contents, Service

38-1-8 Multiple Improvements

38-1-9 Recording, Notice

38-1-10 Equality of Liens

38-1-11 Action to Enforce, Time, Notice of Pendency, Personal Action

38-1-13 Joinder of Parties

38-1-14 Order of Satisfaction

38-1-15 Sale, Distribution of Proceeds, Redemption

38-1-16 Deficiency Judgment

38-1-17 Costs

38-1-18 Attorneys Fees

38-1-19 No Impairment

38-1-20 Offsets and Counterclaims

38-1-21 Advance Payments

38-1-22 Advance Payments

38-1-23 Attachments

38-1-24 Cancellation, Failure to Cancel

38-1-25 Willful Overstatement, Misdemeanor

38-1-26 Assignment

38-1-27 Preliminary Notice, Exemption, Contents, Service, Nonwaiver, Notice of Commencement

CHAPTER 12 NOTICE OF LIEN FILING

38-12-101 Definitions

38-12-102 Notice of Lien, Contents

38-12-103 Failure to Give Notice, Release, Penalties

38-12-104 Grounds of Lien

UTAH CODE

TITLE 38 LIENS

CHAPTER 1 MECHANICS’ LIENS

38-1-1 Public Projects Excluded

The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to any public building, structure or improvement.

38-1-2 “Contractor”, “Subcontractor”

Whoever shall do work or furnish materials by contract, express or implied, with the owner, as in this chapter provided, shall be deemed an original contractor, and all other persons doing work or furnishing materials shall be deemed subcontractors.

38-1-3 Persons Entitled to Lien, Restrictions

Contractors, subcontractors, and all persons performing any services or furnishing or renting any materials or equipment used in the construction, alteration, or improvement of any building or structure or improvement to any premises in any manner and licensed architects and engineers and artisans who have furnished designs, plats, plans, maps, specifications, drawings, estimates of cost, surveys or superintendence, or who have rendered other like professional service, or bestowed labor, shall have a lien upon the property upon or concerning which they have rendered service, performed labor, or furnished or rented materials or equipment for the value of the service rendered, labor performed, or materials or equipment furnished or rented by each respectively, whether at the instance of the owner or of any other person acting by his authority as agent, contractor, or otherwise except as the lien is barred under Section 38-11-107 of the Residence Lien Restriction and Lien Recovery Fund Act. This lien shall attach only to such interest as the owner may have in the property.

38-1-4 Property to Which Lien Attaches

The liens granted by this chapter shall extend to and cover so much of the land whereon such building, structure, or improvement shall be made as may be necessary for convenient use and occupation of the land. In case any such building shall occupy two or more lots or other subdivisions of land, such lots or subdivisions shall be considered as one for the purposes of this chapter. The liens provided for in this chapter shall attach to all franchises, privileges, appurtenances, and to all machinery and fixtures, pertaining to or used in connection with any such lands, buildings, structures, or improvements.

38-1-5 Priorities

The liens herein provided for shall relate back to, and take effect as of, the time of the commencement to do work or furnish materials on the ground for the structure or improvement, and shall have priority over any lien, mortgage or other encumbrance which may have attached subsequently to the time when the building, improvement or structure was commenced, work begun, or first material furnished on the ground; also over any lien, mortgage or other encumbrance of which the lien holder had no notice and which was unrecorded at the time the building, structure or improvement was commenced, work begun, or first material furnished on the ground.

38-1-6 Priorities, Attachments

No attachment, garnishment or levy under an execution upon any money due to an original contractor from the owner of any property subject to lien under this chapter shall be valid as against any lien of a subcontractor or materialman, and no such attachment, garnishment or levy upon any money due to a subcontractor or materialman from the contractor shall be valid as against any lien of a laborer employed by the day or piece.

38-1-7 Claim of Lien, Recording, Time, Contents, Service

(1) A person claiming benefits under this chapter shall file for record with the county recorder of the county in which the property, or some part of the property, is situated, a written notice to hold and claim a lien within 90 days from the date:

(a) the person last performed labor or service or last furnished equipment or material on a project or improvement for a residence as defined in Section 38-11-102; or

(b) of final completion of an original contract not involving a residence as defined in Section 38-11-102.

(2) This notice shall contain a statement setting forth:

(a) the name of the reputed owner if known or, if not known, the name of the record owner;

(b) the name of the person by whom he was employed or to whom he furnished the equipment or material;

(c) the time when the first and last labor or service was performed or the first and last equipment or material was furnished;

(d) a description of the property, sufficient for identification; and

(e) the signature of the lien claimant or his authorized agent and an acknowledgment or certificate as required under Title 57, Chapter 3, Recording of Documents. No acknowledgment or certificate is required for any notice filed after April 29, 1985, and before April 24, 1989.

(3) Within 30 days after filing the notice of lien, the lien claimant shall deliver or mail by certified mail to either the reputed owner or record owner of the real property a copyof the notice of lien. If the record owner’s curren address is not readily available, the copy of the claim may be mailed to the last-known address of the record owner, using the names and addresses appearing on the last completed real property assessment rolls of the county where the affected property is located. Failure to deliver or mail the notice of lien to the reputed owner or record owner precludes the lien claimant from an award of costs and attorneys’ fees against the reputed owner or record owner in an action to enforce the lien.

38-1-8 Multiple Improvements

Liens against two or more buildings or other improvements owned by the same person may be included in one claim; but in such case the person filing the claim must designate the amount claimed to be due to him on each of such buildings or other improvements.

38-1-9 Recording, Notice

(1) The recorder must record the claim in an index maintained for that purpose.

(2) From the time the claim is filed for record, all persons are considered to have notice of the claim.

38-1-10 Equality of Liens

The liens for work and labor done or material furnished as provided in this chapter shall be upon are equal footing, regardless of date of filing the notice and claim of lien and regardless of the time of performing such work and labor or furnishing such material.

38-1-11 Action to Enforce, Time, Notice of Pendency, Personal Action

(1) A lien claimant shall file an action to enforce the lien filed under this chapter within:

(a) twelve months from the date of final completion of the original contract not involving a residence as defined in Section 38-11-102; or

(b) 180 days from the date the lien claimant last performed labor and services or last furnished equipment or material for a residence, as defined in Section 38-11-102.

(2) (a) Within the time period provided for filing in Subsection (1) the lien claimant shall file for record with the county recorder of each county in which the lien is recorded a notice of the pendency of the action, in the manner provided in actions affecting the title or right to possession of real property, or the lien shall be void, except as to persons who have been made parties to the action and persons having actual knowledge of the commencement of the action.

(b) The burden of proof shall be upon the lien claimant and those claiming under him to show actual knowledge.

(3) This section may not be interpreted to impair or affect the right of any person to whom a debt may be due for any work done or materials furnished to maintain a personal action to recover the same.

38-1-13 Joinder of Parties

Lienors not contesting the claims of each other may join as plaintiffs, and when separate actions are commenced the court may consolidate them and make all persons having claims filed parties to the action. Those claiming liens who fail or refuse to become parties plaintiff may be made parties defendant, and any one not made a party may at any time before the final hearing intervene.

38-1-14 Order of Satisfaction

In every case in which liens are claimed against the same property the decree shall provide for their satisfaction in the following order:

(1) Subcontractors who are laborers or mechanics working by the day or piece, but without furnishing materials therefore;

(2) All other subcontractors and all materialmen;

(3) The original contractors.

38-1-15 Sale, Distribution of Proceeds, Redemption

The court shall cause the property to be sold in satisfaction of the liens and costs as in the case of foreclosure of mortgages, subject to the same right of redemption. If the proceeds of sale after the payment of costs shall not be sufficient to satisfy the whole amount of liens included in the decree, then such proceeds shall be paid in the order above designated, and pro rata to the persons claiming in each class where the sum realized is insufficient to pay the persons of such class in full. Any excess shall be paid to the owner.

38-1-16 Deficiency Judgment

Every person whose claim is not satisfied as herein provided may have judgment docketed for the balance unpaid, and execution therefore against the party personally liable.

38-1-17 Costs

Except as provided in Section 38-11-107, as between the owner and the contractor the court shall apportion the costs according to the right of the case, but in all cases each subcontractor exhibiting a lien shall have his costs awarded to him, including the costs of preparing and recording the notice of claim of lien and such reasonable attorneys’ fee as may be incurred in preparing and recording said notice of claim of lien.

38-1-18 Attorneys Fees

Except as provided in Section 38-11-107, in any action brought to enforce any lien under this chapter the successful party shall be entitled to recover a reasonable attorneys’ fee, to be fixed by the court, which shall be taxed as costs in the action.

38-1-19 No Impairment

When any subcontractor shall have actually begun to furnish labor or materials for which he is entitled to a lien no payment to the original contractor shall impair or defeat such lien; and no alteration of any contract shall affect any lien acquired under the provisions of this chapter.

38-1-20 Offsets and Counterclaims

As to all liens, except that of the contractor , the whole contract price shall be payable in money, except as herein provided, and shall not be diminished by any prior or subsequent indebtedness, offset or counterclaim in favor of the owner and against the contractor, except when the owner has contracted to pay otherwise than in cash, in which case the owner shall post in a conspicuous place on the premises a statement of the terms and conditions of the contract before materials are furnished or labor is performed, which notice must be kept posted, and when so posted shall give notice to all parties interested of the terms and conditions of the contract. Any person willfully tearing down or defacing such notice is guilty of a misdemeanor.

38-1-21 Advance Payments

No payment made prior to the time when the same is due under the terms and conditions of the contract shall be valid for the purpose of defeating, diminishing or discharging any lien in favor of any person except the contractor; but as to any such lien such payment shall be deemed as if not made, notwithstanding that the contractor to whom it was paid may thereafter abandon his contract or be or become indebted to the owner for damages for nonperformance of his contract or otherwise.

38-1-22 Advance Payments

The subcontractors’ liens provided for in this chapter shall extend to the full contract price, but if at the time of the commencement to do work or furnish materials the owner has paid upon the contract, in accordance with the terms thereof, any portion of the contract price, either in money or property, the lien of the contractor shall extend only to such unpaid balance, and the lien of any subcontractor who has notice of such payment shall be limited to the unpaid balance of the contract price. No part of the contract price shall by the terms of any contract be made payable, nor shall the same or any part thereof be paid in advance of the commencement of the work, for the purpose of evading or defeating the provisions of this chapter.

38-1-23 Attachments

Whenever materials have been furnished for use in the construction, alteration or repair of any building, work or other improvement mentioned in Section 38-1-3 such materials shall not be subject to attachment, execution or other legal process to enforce any debt due by the purchaser of such materials, other than a debt due for the purchase money thereof, so long as in good faith the same are about to be applied to the construction, alteration or repair of such building or improvement.

38-1-24 Cancellation, Failure to Cancel

The claimant of any lien filed as provided herein, on the payment of the amount thereof together with the costs incurred and the fees for cancellation, shall at the request of any person interested in the property charged therewith cause said lien to be canceled of record within ten days from the request, and upon failure to so cancel his lien within the time aforesaid shall forfeit and pay to the person making the request the sum of $20 per day until the same shall be canceled, to be recovered in the same manner as other debts.

38-1-25 Willful Overstatement, Misdemeanor

Any person entitled to record or file a lien under Section 38-1-3 is guilty of a class B misdemeanor who intentionally causes a claim of lien against any property, which contains a greater demand than the sum due to be recorded or filed:

(1) with the intent to cloud the title;

(2) to exact from the owner or person liable by means of the excessive claim of lien more than is due; or

(3) to procure any unjustified advantage or benefit.

38-1-26 Assignment

All liens under this chapter shall be assignable as other chose in action, and the assignee may commence and prosecute actions thereon in his own name in the manner herein provided.

38-1-27 Preliminary Notice, Exemption, Contents, Service, Nonwaiver, Notice of Commencement

(1) This section relating to preliminary notices does not apply to residential construction or to work performed in the development of subdivisions whose end use is for residential construction. For the purposes of this section, residential construction means single family detached housing and multifamily attached housing up to and including fourplexes, and includes rental housing.

(2) Except subcontractors who are in privity of contract with an original contractor or except for persons performing labor for wages, any person claiming, reserving the right to claim, or intending to claim a mechanic’s lien under this chapter for labor, service, equipment, or material shall provide preliminary notice to the original contractor as prescribed by this section. Any person who fails to provide this preliminary notice has no right to claim a mechanic’s lien under this chapter.

(3) The preliminary notice required by this section shall be in writing and may be given at anytime during the course of the project or improvement.

(4) A person required by this section to give preliminary notice is only required to give one notice for each project or improvement, which may include an entire structure or a scheme of improvements.

(5) If the labor, service, equipment, or material is furnished pursuant to contracts with more than one subcontractor or with more than one original contractor, the notice requirements must be met with respect to the labor, service, equipment, or materials furnished to each such subcontractor or original contractor.

(6) The person required by this section to give preliminary notice is precluded from making a claim for any labor, service, equipment, or material which was provided more than 45 days prior to the date the preliminary notice is given. The preliminary notice must be given before a notice of lien is filed with the county recorder pursuant to Section 38-1-7.

(7) The preliminary notice under this section shall include:

(a) the name, address, and telephone number of the person furnishing the labor, service, equipment, or material;

(b) the name and address of the person who contracted for the furnishing of the labor, service, equipment, or material; and

(c) the address of the project or improvement or a drawing sufficient to describe the location of the project or improvement.

(8) (a) Service of a preliminary notice is sufficient if the notice is deposited in the United States mail, certified or registered, return receipt requested, postage prepaid. Service of the preliminary notice by mail is complete upon deposit of the certified or registered mail.

(b) A preliminary notice served by mail may be addressed to the original contractor at his place of business, or his address as shown on the notice of commencement on record with the county recorder as required by Subsection (10).

(9) The applicability of this section, including the waiver of rights or privileges granted or protected by this section, may not be varied by agreement.

(10) Any right to assert a defense of failure to comply with the preliminary notice requirements of this section is void unless the original contractor records a notice of commencement of the project or improvement with the county recorder for the county or counties where the project is located within 30 days after commencement of the project. The notice of commencement shall include the following:

(a) the name and address of the owner of the project or improvement;

(b) the name and address of the original contractor;

(c) the name and address of the surety providing any payment bond for the project or improvement, or if none exists, a statement that a payment bond was not required for the work being performed;

(d) the name and address of the project; and

(e) a legal description of the property on which the project is located.

CHAPTER 12 NOTICE OF LIEN FILING

38-12-101 Definitions

For purposes of this chapter:

(1) “Lien” means:

(a) failure to pay moneys owed for property, services, or a judgment that becomes a charge against or interest in:

(i) real property, a building, a structure, or an improvement including any franchise, privilege, appurtenance, machinery, or fixture pertaining to or used in connection with any real property, building, structure, or improvement;

(ii) personal property; or

(iii) a judgment, settlement, or compromise; or

(b) a tax as provided in Section 59-1-302.1, 59-5-108, 59-5-208, 59-11-110, or 59-12-112. (2) “Lien” does not mean a charge against or interest in, for failure to pay moneys owed for property, services, or a judgment, any:

(a) bank account;

(b) pension; or

(c) garnishment.

38-12-102 Notice of Lien, Contents

(1) No later than 30 days after the day on which a lien claimant’s or the lien claimant’s authorized agent files for recordation a notice of lien meeting the requirements of Subsection (2) with a county recorder, county clerk, or clerk of the court, a lien claimant or the lien claimant’s agent shall send by certified mail a written copy of the notice of lien to the last-known address of the person against whom the notice of lien is filed.

(2) The notice of lien shall contain the following information:

(a) the name and address of the person against whom the lien is filed;

(b) (i) a statement that certain property owned by the person against whom the lien is filed is subject to a lien;

(ii) the amount of the judgment, settlement, or compromise if the lien is based on a charge against or interest in a judgment, settlement, or compromise; or

(iii) the amount of state taxes owed;

(c) the article number contained on the certified mail receipt;

(d) the date the notice of lien was filed; and

(e) the name and address of the lien claimant.

(3) The notice requirements of Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to a:

(a) mechanics’ lien as provided in Title 38, Chapter 1, Mechanics’ Liens;

(b) lessors’ lien as provided in Title 38, Chapter 3, Lessors’ Liens;

(c) federal tax lien as provided in Title 38, Chapter 6, Federal Tax Liens;

(d) hospital lien as provided in Title 38, Chapter 7, Hospital Lien Law;

(e) self-service storage facilities lien as provided in Title 38, Chapter 8, Self-Service Storage Facilities;

(f) oil, gas, or mining lien as provided in Title 38, Chapter 10, Oil, Gas and Mining Liens;

(g) claim against the Residence Lien Recovery Fund as provided in Title 38, Chapter 11, Residence Lien Restriction and Lien Recovery Fund Act;

(h) trust deed;

(i) mortgage;

(j) interests subject to a security agreement as defined in Subsection 70A-9-105(1); or

(k) other liens subject to the same or stricter notice requirements than those imposed by Subsections (1) and (2).

38-12-103 Failure to Give Notice, Release, Penalties

(1) (a) A person who fails to meet the notice requirements of Subsections 38-12-102(1) and (2) is precluded from receiving an award of costs and attorneys’ fees from the person against whom a notice of lien has been filed in an action to enforce the lien if costs and attorneys’ fees are authorized by contract or statute.

(b) Subsection (1)(a) does not create a right to costs and attorneys’ fees.

(2) In addition to the penalties provided in Subsection (1)(a), a lien claimant who, within 20 days from the date of receiving notice of noncompliance with the notice requirements of Subsection 38-12-102(1) or (2), willfully refuses to release the notice of lien or record the lien in compliance with Section 38-12-102 is liable to the person against whom the notice of lien was filed for $1,000 or for treble damages, whichever is greater.

(3) Failure to meet the notice requirements of Subsections 38-12-102(1) and (2) does not:

(a) invalidate any lien arising at common law or in equity or by any statute of this state; or

(b) affect the rules of priority provided in Title 70A, Chapter 9, Part 3.

38-12-104 Grounds of Lien

The provisions of this chapter do not create independent grounds for imposing a lien.