I Have a Lien . . . Now What?

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Preserving lien rights is a great way for contractors to protect themselves in case something goes wrong when payment is due. Wisconsin law allows anyone who provides work, labor, or material for the improvement of land to file a lien against the real estate.

Using foreclosure to get paid

A lien on a property is a lot like a mortgage. It’s a form of debt that must be paid. If the lien debt is not paid the property may be foreclosed on and sold. To foreclose on the property, a summons and complaint must be filed in circuit court. The summons and complaint must outline how and when the lien was created according to statute. An important deadline to remember is that the foreclosure lawsuit must be filed within 2 years of when the original lien claim was filed. If more than 2 years pass you no longer have a lien to enforce.

Do I still have a lien of the property was sold?

Yes! Even if the person who owned the property when you got the lien then sold the property to someone else your lien is still good. The lien debt is still attached to that same property.

Wait remind me how do I know if I have a lien?

Lien rights are created by Wisconsin statute law. There are many important notice and filing requirements to create a lien.


Murdock Law has helped many contractors understand their lien rights and how to use a lien most effectively once they have one. Sometimes a foreclosure action is necessary to get paid. Please call us if you have a lien, but are not sure what to do next.

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