Montana Code Annotated 2021



Part 5. Construction Liens


71-3-522. Definitions. As used in this part, the following definitions apply:

(1) "Commencement of work" means the date of the first visible change in the physical condition of the real estate caused by the first person furnishing services or materials pursuant to a particular real estate improvement contract.

(2) "Construction lien" or "lien" means a lien against real estate arising under this part.

(3) (a) "Contract price" means the amount agreed upon by the contracting parties for performing services and furnishing materials covered by the contract, increased or diminished by:

(i) the price of change orders or extras;

(ii) any amounts attributable to altered specifications; or

(iii) a breach of contract, including but not limited to defects in workmanship or materials.

(b) If a price is not agreed upon by the contracting parties, the contract price means the reasonable value of all services or materials covered by the contract.

(4) (a) "Contracting owner" means a person who owns an interest in real estate and who, personally or through an agent, enters into an express or implied contract for the improvement of the real estate.

(b) For the purpose of determining whether a person is a contracting owner, agency is presumed, in the absence of clear and convincing evidence to the contrary:

(i) between employer and employee;

(ii) between spouses;

(iii) between joint tenants; and

(iv) among tenants in common.

(5) "Original contractor" means a contractor who contracts directly with the contracting owner.

(6) (a) "Real estate improvement contract" means an agreement to perform services, including labor, or to furnish materials for the purpose of producing a change in the physical condition of the real estate, including:

(i) alteration of the surface by excavation, fill, change in grade, or change in a shore, bank, or flood plain of a stream, swamp, or body of water;

(ii) construction or installation on, above, or below the surface of land;

(iii) demolition, repair, remodeling, or removal of a structure previously constructed or installed;

(iv) seeding, sodding, or other landscape operation;

(v) surface or subsurface testing, boring, or analysis; and

(vi) preparation of plans, surveys, or architectural or engineering plans or drawings for any change in the physical condition of the real estate, regardless of whether they are used to produce a change in the physical condition of the real estate.

(b) For the purpose of claiming a construction lien, a real estate improvement contract does not include:

(i) a contract for the mining or removal of timber, minerals, gravel, soil, sod, or things growing on the land or a similar contract in which the activity is primarily for the purpose of making the materials available for sale or use; or

(ii) a contract for the planting, cultivation, or harvesting of crops or for the preparation of the soil for the planting of crops.

History: En. Sec. 2, Ch. 202, L. 1987; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 293, L. 2007.