Idaho: Lien & Bond Claim Rights in the Gem State

Idaho: Mechanic’s Lien & Bond Claim Rights in the Gem State

Did you know the “Idaho Territory” was larger than Texas? According to, although Idaho is now smaller than Texas, it is “as large as all six New England states combined with New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware.” Do you know what that means? A lot of land for potatoes, construction and potentially mechanic’s liens!

Idaho Mechanic’s Liens

There is no statutory requirement for a preliminary notice for private commercial projects. For residential projects (owner or non-owner occupied dwelling of 1 to 4 units) if you are contracted directly with the owner and the contract exceeds $2,000.00, you should provide two disclosure statements to the owner:

  • Serve the first disclosure to the owner priorto entering a contract and include an acknowledgment of receipt to be executed by the owner.  Retain a copy of the executed disclosure and provide a copy to the owner.
  • Serve the second disclosure to the owner prior to the closing with a prospective residential purchaser or the final payment to the prime contractor.

File the lien after last furnishing materials or services, but within 90 days after last furnishing materials or services and serve a copy of the lien upon the owner within 5 business days from filing the lien. File suit to enforce the lien within 6 months from filing the lien.

The time in which to file suit may be extended if a payment on account is made, or an extension of credit is given with an expiration date, and such payment or credit and expiration date is endorsed on the record of the lien. Suit would then become due within 6 months from the extension.

Retainage on Idaho Private Projects

According to Idaho statute, retainage may not exceed 5% for private commercial projects.

29-115 (2) In any contract relating to the construction of any private work of improvement, the retention proceeds withheld by the owner from the original contractor or by the original contractor from any subcontractor from any payment shall not exceed five percent (5%) of the payment and in no event shall the total retention withheld exceed five percent (5%) of the contract price.

Idaho Bond Claim

Generally, payment bonds are required for general contracts of $50,000.00 or more. You should always attempt to obtain a copy of the payment bond from the public entity which contracted the project. If the public entity fails to require a payment bond, the public entity is liable to the claimant and shall make payment to the claimant upon demand.

Serve bond claim notice upon the prime contractor within 90 days from last furnishing materials or services.

When contracting directly with the prime contractor, no bond claim notice is required. File suit to enforce the bond claim after 90 days from last furnishing materials or services, but within 1 year from last furnishing materials or services. When contracting directly with the prime contractor, file suit to enforce the bond claim after 90 days from last furnishing materials or services, but within 1 year from the date on which final payment, under the subcontract, became due.

Retainage on Public Projects

Like the statute for private projects, retainage on public projects is also 5%.

54-1926 (3) Public bodies requiring a performance bond or payment bond in excess of fifty percent (50%) of the total contract amount shall not be authorized to withhold from the contractor or subcontractor any amount exceeding five percent (5%) of the total amount payable as retainage.

Statute also dictates that retainage should be released within 30 days after project completion/final acceptance.

Prompt Pay on Public Projects

Section 67-2302 of Idaho statute outlines prompt pay provisions for public projects. Parties should be paid within 60 days of billing receipt.

(2) All bills shall be accepted, certified for payment, and paid within sixty (60) calendar days of receipt of billing, unless the buyer and the vendor have agreed by a contract in place at the time the order was placed that a longer period of time is acceptable to the vendor.

Other Key Pieces of Info for Idaho Lien & Bond Claim

Here are a few other points of interest!

  • For commercial projects, the lien is enforceable for the full amount owed, regardless of payments made by the owner
  • Mechanic’s liens can be bonded off
  • Generally, only those contracting with the prime contractor or a first-tier subcontractor have a claim under the bond
  • Nearly 1/3 of all potatoes grown in the U.S. are grown in Idaho
  • More than 70 gemstones are mined from Idaho

Those last two bits won’t help you secure your lien rights, but they may help you on your next trivia night!

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