Tennessee Lien Laws

In the state of Tennessee, lien laws are in place in the state code and statutes, which detail the process of preserving the rights to lien on a given property in the event of non-payment.  Following these procedures from the onset of a project is essential to collect claims on liens in the future. 

Primary Contractors in Tennessee

Primary contractors in the state of Tennessee must file preliminary notice to owner before beginning any work on project.  Any actions to enforce claims on lien must begin no later than one (1) year from the day of the last time service or materials were provided to given project.  Any notice of completion filed by owner requires primary contractor to file notice of claims on lien within thirty (30) days.

Sub Contractors in Tennessee

Sub contractors in Tennessee are under no obligation to provide preliminary notice.  To protect lien rights, sub contractors must give notice of non-payment to owner and primary contractor no later than ninety (90) days of last date on project.  Additionally, sub contractors must provide owners a notice of lien and sworn statement no later than ninety (90) days after work obligations are finished or abandoned.  Sub contractors are also required by law to give notice for each time in a month that services or materials went unpaid.  Any actions to enforce lien claims through suit must commence within ninety (90) days of giving notice of lien and sworn statements.  If owner files a notice of completion, the sub contractor has only thirty (30) days to begin lien enforcement actions.

Materials Suppliers in Tennessee

If a materials supplier is directly contracted by project owner, notice of commencement to provide materials must be delivered before providing them. Otherwise, materials suppliers are treated in the same manner as sub contractors according to Tennessee lien law protocol, including having to:

  • Provide notice of non-payment no more than ninety (90) days after last day of providing materials
  • Provide notice of lien and sworn statements to owner no more than ninety (90) days from last date on project site
  • Provide a notice of claims for each month that materials supplier was unpaid for services
  • Begin actions to enforce lien claims no later than ninety (90) days after giving notice of lien
  • Begin enforcement suit actions within thirty (30) days if owner files notice of completion


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