You work to support yourself. What’s the point of finishing an amazing project if you don’t protect your right to payment after its completion? Filing your liens in accordance with your state’s lien laws is integral to protecting your compensation. We’re here to take away the complexity and confusion and give it to you straight. If you work in Washington and need to know the lien laws, this is the spot for you. Here, we break down exactly what the state of Washington requires for you to properly file a valid construction lien and bond claim.
How to File a Valid Lien in Washington:
- Contractors must register with the Washington State Department of Labor to have lien rights.
- You can also have a lien against funds held by the Construction Lender, if any.
- The Place 1* Contractor is required to post all the information you need to file a lien at the construction site.
- Place 2* Material Suppliers must send “Notice of Right to Claim Lien” to the Owner.
- Place 3* Contractors and Material Suppliers must send the Owner and Place 1* Contractor a “Notice of Right to Claim Lien.”
- On residential projects, the “Notice of Right to Claim Lien” must be filed within ten (10) days of first work and/or materials supplied. On all other projects it must be sent within sixty (60) days of the first work and/or materials supplied.
- Liens must be filed within ninety (90) days of your last work and/or materials supplied.
- A copy of the lien that was filed must be sent to the Owner within fourteen (14) days of it being filed.
- You must file suit to enforce your lien within eight (8) months of it being filed.
How to Have a Valid Bond Claim in Washington:
- Contractors must register with the Washington State Department of Labor to have bond claim rights.
- On public projects of more than $150,000, bonds are required.
- Place 3* and above Contractors can have a lien on the retainage withheld by the public entity from the Place 1* Contractor.
- To have a lien on retained funds, you must send notice to the Place 1* Contractor within sixty (60) days of first work and/or materials supplied.
- You must also send written notice of your claim to the public entity having the work done within forty-five (45) days of completion of the project.
- Within four (4) months of sending your notice of claim to the public entity, you must file suit to enforce your lien on retained funds.
- To have a bond claim, you must send the Place 1* Contractor notice within ten (10) days of first work and/or materials supplied
- To have a bond claim, you must also send a notice of claim to the public entity having the work done within thirty (30) days of completion of the project.
- You must file suit against the bond company to enforce your bond claim, but this must be done within thirty (30) days after sending the public entity your notice of claim to be able to recover your attorney fees.
If you work in Washington, you must remember that you deserve to be paid for the work you do, and following the above laws is the best way to make sure you are. If you’d like someone else to take care of filing your construction lien or bond claims, and do it the right way, contact an experienced Washington lien lawyer who knows construction law. Our sister company, The Cromeens Law Firm, has a 90% success rate of collections before having to foreclose on a lien, saving you costly legal fees. Security matters. Enforce yours by filing valid, enforceable liens.
*The “places” referenced in the rules above correlate to the Construction Food Chain Chart from Karalynn Cromeens’ book,
Quit Getting Stiffed. The chart can be found here to use when following these lien and bond rules.