The Vermont Statutes Online
The Vermont Statutes Online have been updated to include the actions of the 2023 session of the General Assembly.
NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.
- Subchapter 001: Contractors' Liens for Labor or Material
§ 1921. Extent of lien; notice
(a) When a contract or agreement is made, whether in writing or not, for erecting, repairing, moving, or altering improvements to real property or for furnishing labor or material therefor, the person proceeding in pursuance of such contract or agreement shall have a lien upon such improvements and the lot of land on which the same stand to secure the payment of the same.
(b) A person who by virtue of a contract or agreement, either in writing or parol, with an agent, contractor, or subcontractor of the owner thereof, performs labor or furnishes materials for erecting, repairing, moving, or altering such improvements shall have a lien, to secure the payment of the same upon such improvements and the lot of land upon which the same stand, by giving notice in writing to such owner or his or her agent having charge of such property that he or she shall claim a lien for labor or material. The notice shall include the date that payment is due, if known. Such lien shall extend to the portions of the contract price remaining unpaid at the time such notice is received.
(c) A lien herein provided for shall not continue in force for more than 180 days from the time when payment became due for the last of such labor performed or materials furnished unless a notice of such lien is filed in the office of the town clerk as hereinafter provided.
(d) A lien under this section shall not take precedence over a deed or other conveyance to the extent that consideration therefor has been paid in good faith before record of such lien. Such lien shall not take precedence over a mortgage given by the owner thereof upon such building, property, or improvements and the lot of land on which the same stand, as security for the payment of money loaned and to be used by such owner in payment of the expenses of the same, if such mortgage is recorded before such lien is filed in the office of the town clerk as hereinafter provided. If such mortgagee shall receive written notice that any lien hereunder is to be claimed, such lien shall take precedence over such mortgage as to all advances thereafter made under such mortgage to such mortgagor, except such advances as the mortgagee may show were actually expended in completing such improvements to real property.
(e) The lot of land covered by such lien shall be deemed to be all of the land owned or held by the owner and used or designed for use in connection with such improvements, but such lien shall not extend to other adjacent lands used for purposes of profit.
(f) A lien under this section may not be waived in advance of the time such labor is performed or materials are furnished, and any provision calling for such advance waiver shall not be enforceable. (Amended 1985, No. 128 (Adj. Sess.); 2003, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 1922. Effect of lien
Unless a person has satisfied or paid the claim upon which such lien is founded after the person has received written notice of a lien as provided for in subsection 1921(b) of this title, or unless the lien has not been perfected within the time required under section 1924 of this title, such person shall not deed, mortgage, or otherwise convey property that is subject to a lien as provided herein without disclosing such lien to the vendee or mortgagee in writing or stating the existence of the same in the instrument conveying or mortgaging such property. If the person shall fail so to disclose such lien, he or she shall be liable to the person injured in a civil action on this statute for the damages so sustained. (Amended 2003, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)
§ 1923. Recording notice of lien
A person claiming a lien under section 1921 of this title shall file for record in the clerk’s office of the town where such real estate is situated a written memorandum, signed by him or her, asserting his or her claim, which shall charge such real estate with such lien as of the visible commencement of work or delivery of material to the extent and subject to the exceptions provided in sections 1921 and 1922 of this title. Several such liens, asserted as aforesaid, shall be paid pro rata, if the sum due or to become due from the owner thereof is not sufficient to pay the same in full.
§ 1924. Action to enforce lien
Within 180 days from the time of filing such memorandum, if such payment is due at the time of such filing and within 180 days from the time such payment becomes due, if not due at the time of such filing, such person may commence his or her action for the same and cause such real estate or other property to be attached thereon. If he or she obtains judgment in the action, the record of such judgment shall contain a brief statement of the contract upon which the same is founded. (Amended 2003, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)
§ 1925. Foreclosure
Within five months after the date of such judgment, the plaintiff may cause a certified copy of the record thereof to be recorded in the office of the clerk of the town in which such real estate or other property is situated. Thereupon the same shall be holden for the amount due upon such judgment, with the costs of such copy and recording the same, as if it had been mortgaged for the payment thereof, from the time of the visible commencement of work or delivery of materials, subject, however, to the priorities provided in section 1921 of this title, and the plaintiff may obtain possession and foreclose the defendant’s equity of redemption as in case of a mortgage.
§ 1926. Death of landowner; effect on lien
When the owner of real estate dies after a lien has been recorded, or dies pending an action brought against him or her to enforce a lien on such real estate, the action or lien shall not abate or be affected by the death of such owner, but the executor or administrator of the deceased shall be cited in and the action shall proceed to final judgment against the representative of the deceased defendant. Such real estate shall be holden for the amount due upon such judgment, with the cost of the copy of the record of the judgment and recording, as if it had been mortgaged for the payment of the same, in like manner as if the deceased defendant were alive. Such lien shall not be enforced to the diminution of a right or interest given by law to the surviving husband or wife, as the case may be, or to the children of such deceased person.
§ 1927. Application to homestead
The provisions of this subchapter shall apply to property held as a homestead.
§ 1928. Married woman’s property
Under the provisions of this subchapter, the real estate of a married woman may be charged with a mechanic’s lien when she assents to the contract.
- Subchapter 002: Artisan's Liens
§ 1951. Artisan’s lien
A person who makes, alters, launders, dry cleans, or repairs an article of personal property, at the request of the owner, shall have a lien thereon for his or her reasonable charges and may retain possession of the property until the same are paid.
§ 1952. Enforcement by sale
When the debt secured thereby remains unpaid for three months after such lien attaches, the person having such lien, except as provided in section 1954 of this title, may sell such property at public auction in the town where such lien accrues. Notice of the time, place, and purpose of such sale shall be posted in two or more public places in such town at least 10 days prior thereto, and he or she may apply the proceeds of such sale to the satisfaction of the debt due him or her and the expenses of such sale. The surplus remaining shall be paid to the proper owner thereof within 10 days thereafter, or deposited for his or her benefit in the treasury of the town where the sale occurs.
§ 1953. Notice of sale
At least 10 days prior thereto, notice in writing of the time and place of such sale and of the amount claimed to be due shall be given to the owner of such property, either personally, by mail, or by leaving the same at his or her place of abode, if a resident of this State. Otherwise such notice shall be given by publication thereof in some newspaper published in the town or county where such lien accrues, if there is one, and if not, by publication in a newspaper published in an adjoining county.
§ 1954. Price in dispute; tender by owner
When the owner of such article of personal property desires to question the reasonableness of such charges, he or she may within such three months make tender therefor, and the person having such lien shall bring a civil action within 30 days after such tender to determine the amount due if he or she does not elect to accept such tender. The defendant may give evidence of the tender under the general denial and, on proof thereof, if the plaintiff does not recover a greater sum than the amount tendered, the defendant shall recover his or her costs. In case tender is made as above provided and an action is not brought by the person having such lien, such lien shall terminate 30 days from the time of such tender. The foregoing provisions shall not be construed as exclusive of any other remedies that the parties now have by law.
- Subchapter 003: Wage Liens
§ 1971. Unpaid wages; statutory lien; priority over subsequent mortgage or lien
(a) A statutory lien is created on the real and personal property of a corporation for up to 30 days of unpaid wages.
(b) The liability of a corporation to an employee for unpaid wages that were earned for a 30-day period prior to the filing of a new mortgage or other lien upon the property of the corporation, in all cases, shall be a first lien thereon, notwithstanding any mortgage or other lien thereon recorded after such wages were earned. Notice of the lien if on personal property shall be filed with the Secretary of State and, if on real property, in the land records, by the employee or the Department of Labor acting on behalf of one or more employees. An employee who is owed wages or the Department of Labor acting on behalf of one or more employees may file an action to execute on the lien in the Civil Division of the Superior Court in the county in which the corporation has its principal place of business in the State, or in the Civil Division of the Washington County Superior Court. (Amended 2011, No. 124 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 1972. Preference for wage liens
If a person or company is compelled to stop business by reason of an attachment upon mesne process and does not resume business within 30 days thereafter, an employee to whom such person or company is indebted for wages may attach the same property upon his or her debt. Such attachment shall take precedence over such prior attachment to an amount not exceeding $50.00 if made before sale thereof on execution.
- Subchapter 004: Liens on Logs for Wages
§ 1991. Nature and extent of lien
A person cutting or drawing logs and acting under a contract with the owner thereof shall have a lien thereon for his or her wages that shall continue 60 days after the services are performed and have precedence of other claims except public taxes. Such lien shall not attach until the person claiming it files in the office of the clerk of the town where he or she performed the service, or if the town is unorganized, in the county clerk’s office, a brief statement of the contract under which he or she claims a lien and his or her purpose to enforce it against the property for the amount due for such service.
§ 1992. Action to enforce lien
Such lien shall be void against a subsequent purchaser, unless an action is brought and the logs attached thereon within 30 days from the time the plaintiff’s right of action accrues against the person for whom he or she performed the services, and shall be void as to all persons, unless an action is brought and the logs attached thereon within 60 days from such time.
§ 1993. Procedure for attaching logs
Such attachment shall be made by leaving a copy of the process in the office of the clerk of the town where the services were performed and also where the logs are located. If either town is unorganized, a copy of such process shall be left in the county clerk’s office.
- Subchapter 005: Liens on Lumber Products; Registration of Marks
§ 2011. Nature and extent of lien; registered marks
If a person, firm, or corporation shall, by itself or others, make an advance or series of advances of money to the owner of, or person entitled to the possession of, any logs or pulpwood for the purpose of financing the cutting, hauling, yarding, piling, trucking, rafting, booming, driving, or towing of the same, it shall have a lien for the amount of all such advances, which shall take precedence over all claims, except taxes and liens provided for and enforceable under section 1991 of this title, and except all other liens legally acquired and filed or recorded prior to the placing of the registered mark thereon as herein provided, upon all of such logs or pulpwood on which it has caused its registered mark to be placed, and such lien with respect to such advances shall continue for all advances for two years after the date of making the last advance, and may be enforced by attachment. The term “registered mark” as used in the foregoing sentence means a mark described in a certificate of registration issued by the Secretary of State, pursuant to the provisions of section 2012 of this title, and recorded in the town clerk’s office for the town in which such logs or pulpwood were situated when such registered mark was placed thereon, or if the logs or pulpwood were situated in an unorganized town, gore, or grant, said registered mark must be recorded by the clerk of the county in which such unorganized town, gore, or grant is situated.
§ 2012. Registration of marks; regulations
Any person, firm, or corporation desiring to appropriate for its own exclusive use any distinctive mark to be placed upon logs or pulpwood for identification may file a copy of such mark, accompanied by a statement claiming the exclusive use thereof for such purpose, with the Secretary of State, who, if satisfied that such mark is not the duplicate of, or deceptively similar to, any such mark theretofore registered in his or her office, shall register, and issue to and in the name of such person, firm, or corporation a certificate of registration of such mark. The person, firm, or corporation in whose name such certificate of registration is issued shall be entitled to the exclusive use of the mark therein described for all purposes of this subchapter. The fee for such filing and recording and for a duly attested certificate of the record thereof shall be $10.00. The Secretary may make such rules and regulations and prescribe such forms as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this subchapter.
§ 2013. Certified copies of certificates; fee
The town clerk shall receive a fee of $6.00 for recording a certified copy of any such certificate of registration. (Amended 1971, No. 84, § 2; 1979, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1993, No. 170 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2003, No. 70 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. March 1, 2004.)
§ 2014. Recording; fees
No lien as provided for in this subchapter shall be valid, except as against the person to whom such advances were made, until written notice of advances made or to be made is recorded with the town clerk of the town wherein such logs or pulpwood are situated, or if the logs or pulpwood are situated in an unorganized town, gore, or grant, said written notice must be recorded by the clerk of the county in which such unorganized town, gore, or grant is situated. Five dollars shall be paid to the town or county clerk for recording said written notice. (Amended 1971, No. 84, § 3; 1979, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)
- Subchapter 006: Liens on Ships for Labor or Material
§ 2031. Lien for labor and materials; enforcement
A person who performs labor or furnishes materials in building, repairing, fitting, or furnishing a ship, vessel, or steamboat shall have a lien thereon for his or her wages and materials until eight months after it is completed, and may secure the same by attachment thereof. Such attachment shall have precedence of all other attachments and claims.
§ 2032. Prerequisites for lien
Before such lien attaches, such person shall present a claim for his or her services performed or materials furnished and shall demand payment of the same of the owner, agent, contractor, or person in whose care such ship, vessel, or steamboat is. Upon such demand, a payment or tender of the just amount due him or her shall discharge such lien.
- Subchapter 007: Federal Liens
§ 2051. Filing in town clerk’s office
Notices of liens upon real or personal property for taxes or other obligations payable to the United States of America, certificates and notices affecting the liens, and certificates discharging the liens shall be filed in the office of the town clerk of the town in this State within which the property subject to the lien is situated. (Amended 1987, No. 226 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 2052. Recording of notice of lien
When a notice of a federal lien is filed, the town clerk shall forthwith record the same in alphabetical order in a book kept for that purpose with the date and hour of filing the lien. A town clerk shall keep on file in the clerk’s office the notices of these liens. Liens filed under this section shall be indexed in accordance with 24 V.S.A. § 1153 or 1161. (Amended 1987, No. 226 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)
§ 2053. Discharge of lien
When a certificate of discharge of a federal lien is filed in the office of the town clerk, the town clerk shall enter the same, with the date of filing, upon the same page of the record where the notice of the lien is filed, and permanently attach the original certificate of discharge to the original notice of the lien. (Amended 1987, No. 227 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)
- Subchapter 008: Liens on Animals
§ 2071. Liens for service of stallions
Colts foaled in this State and the mare producing the same shall be subject to a lien to secure the payment of the service fee of the stallion. Such lien shall continue in force until the colt is eight months old and may be enforced by attachment of such colt or mare at any time after the colt is four months old. Such lien shall take precedence of any other claim upon such colt, subject to the conditions of sections 2072-2074 of this title.
§ 2072. Filing of statement claiming lien
On or before April 1, or within 30 days after such stallion is brought into such town, the owner or manager of the stallion shall annually file in the office of the clerk of the town where such stallion is kept a declaration of an intention to claim such lien and a statement containing the name and age of such stallion, his pedigree for two generations, if known, and the terms of service. A copy of such statement shall be furnished the owner of each mare served and all bills or posters advertising such stallion shall contain a copy of such statement.
§ 2073. False statements in claim of lien
If the owner or manager in such statement makes a false representation regarding the pedigree of such stallion, the lien for such service shall be discharged and the service fee thereon secured shall be forfeited.
§ 2074. Penalty for fraudulent sale of mare
When the owner or manager of a stallion has complied with the requirements of section 2072 of this title, if the owner or person in whose name a mare has been mated with such stallion for breeding purposes disposes of such mare by sale or otherwise before foaling time without first settling with the owner or manager for the service of the stallion, or within 10 days after the disposal of the mare, he or she shall be subject to the same penalties that he or she would be for disposing of a colt encumbered by a lien. If such mare is returned for trial to the stallion after three weeks from the date of the last service and found not to have become pregnant and is not again served during that breeding season, the provisions of this section shall not apply to the disposal of such mare.
§ 2075. Lien for keeping or pasturing animals
A person to whom charges are due for pasturing, boarding, or keeping domestic animals placed with the consent of the owner thereof in his or her care, if the charges become due while such animals remain in his or her possession, may retain the same until such charges are paid. After 30 days from the time the charges become due, he or she may sell such animals in the manner provided for the sale of property under a lien for repairs, if such charges remain unpaid.
- Subchapter 009: Miscellaneous Provisions
§ 2091. Attachment not waiver of implied lien
A person holding personal property by a lien implied by law to ensure the payment of the debt secured by such lien, may cause the property to be attached on mesne process and sold on execution and such attachment shall not be a waiver of the lien.