Filing Your Hawaii Mechanic’s Lien

The Hawaii Lien Filing Process

Filing a Hawaiian mechanic’s lien properly requires very specific timing on the part of the contractor.  In addition to timing, the proper paperwork must make its way through the Hawaiian court system before it can be served.  It is best to begin the entire process as early as possible in order to avoid delays.

Who Can File: Anyone with an express or implied contract can file, as long as that person or company provided work, services, or materials which were incorporated into the project.

Filing Deadline: While there is no prenotice requirement, the lien ust be filed no later than 45 days after completion.  Completion is when the owner or the general contractor completes the publication of a Notice of Completion and an affidavit of the publication.  If a valid Notice of Completion is not published and filed within one year after the actual completion or abandonment of the improvement the “date of completion” shall be deemed to be one year after actual completion or abandonment.

Filing Process: Once the document is sent to the Hawaiian courts for filing, a hearing date is decided and is held not less than 3 nor more than 10 days after service of the document.  This means that the Claimant or the Claimant’s representative must appear in court within as little as 3 days after the lien is filed.  Service of the filed lien and hearing date must be done by process server, and every party must be served including the claimant.  If the owner is not available, the notice can be posted on the residence.  Notice must also be posted at the jobsite, and all notices must be certified copies.  Once everyone is aware of the hearing date, the claim will be determined to be valid or invalid at the hearing.  The hearing will also decide how long the lien will attach to the property before it expires.

In Hawaii it is best to begin this process as early as possible due to the short time limit for filing, and the fact that the lien must make its way through the court system within that time limit.