In Montana, liens filed on private property or on funds relating to a public project are known as Montana Construction Liens or mechanics liens. When a Montana mechanics lien is filed with regard to work performed on privately owned property, it attaches to and encumbers the fee simple ownership of property. When a Montana mechanics lien is filed with regard to work performed on a publicly or government owned property, it attaches to the fund of money which the public agency has allocated for a project. The reason for this is that you cannot force the sale of publicly owned land (public agencies mean any county, city, town, township, public commission, public board or other municipality authorized by law to make contracts for the making of any public improvement in any city, town, township or other municipality).
Contractors, as well as subcontractors, sub-subcontractors and suppliers who have a contract with a general contractor or a subcontractor can file a Montana mechanics lien.
Pre-lien notices are not required for contractors who have direct contracts with the owner, wage earners, on projects relating to dwellings of 5 or more families or on commercial projects. For residential projects, subcontractors and suppliers must give notice no later than 20 days after the date on which services or materials are first furnished. That period is extended to 45 days on residential projects where funding is provided by a bank and secured by a lien, mortgage or encumbrance, unless it is owner-occupied.
Contractors can file without a pre-lien notice, but subcontractors, sub-subcontractors and suppliers must file a pre-notice prior to filing a Montana mechanics lien or the lien extends back only to the preceding 20 days.
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