Senate Bill 49 — Good News for Design Professionals

Ohio recently expanded lien rights for architects, landscape architects, engineers and surveyors with Senate Bill 49. The new law revises code sections 4703.20 through 4703.206 to address architect liens, sections 4703.54 through 4703.546 to address landscape architect liens, and Sections 4733.30 through 4733.306 to address engineer and surveyor liens.

The result of this bill is several new statutes that went into effect on September 30, 2021. These new statutes fill a void that was not addressed in R.C. Chapter 1311, the Mechanic’s Lien Statute.

Who Benefits from the Bill?

The new statutes provide for lien rights to architects, landscape architects, professional engineers and professional surveyors if they meet the statutory criteria.

These lien rights are effective only against commercial real estate. They are also only effective if the professional has a written contract with the owner of the property and signed by both parties.

How Does It Work?

These liens are perfected by filing an affidavit in the county recorder’s office in the county where the project is located.  The affidavit must contain:

  • The name of the architect, landscape architect, professional engineer or professional surveyor
  • The name of the owner of the interest in the commercial real estate
  • The record owner’s name (if different than owner)
  • Legal description and parcel number
  • Parties to and date of the contract
  • Amount of the claim
  • Statement that information in affidavit is true and accurate to the claimant’s knowledge
  • Notarized signature of the claimant

A recorded copy of the affidavit is to be served upon all parties listed in the affidavit within thirty days after recording.  However, failure to serve does not invalidate the lien.

What’s the Timing of the Lien?

Unlike the mechanic’s lien statute, these do not provide a deadline in which to file a claim. Worth noting is all valid and recorded mechanic’s liens arising pursuant to Chapter 1311 of the Revised Code, regardless of recordation date. As well, all previously recorded mortgages and liens — including judgment liens — take priority over an architect, landscape architect, professional engineer or professional surveyor’s lien.

An architect, landscape architect, engineer or surveyor holding a perfected lien on commercial real estate may commence proceedings to enforce the lien by filing a complaint within two years of the date of recordation of the required affidavit. Further, any person with an interest in the real estate subject to a lien perfected under these new statutes may demand in writing that the professional commence suit to enforce the lien.

The lien is extinguished if such a demand is made. The lien is also extinguished if the respective architect, landscape architect, engineer or surveyor does not commence the action within 60 days after receipt of the demand.

For More Information

Do you have any more questions or would like to know more about Senate Bill 49? The attorneys at AR&H have the experience and knowledge to represent your organization’s interests in all areas of construction law. Please contact our office at (513) 241-0400 or use our contact form to schedule a time to talk with us.