Short Answer: Whether you must send a preliminary notice will depend on (1) your role in the construction project; and (2) where you are performing work. Typically, those who do not contract with the property owner are the class of party who must send a preliminary notice. But it is only required if you are doing work in a “notice” state. Below is a map of which states require preliminary notices and which do not.
Long Answer: Those in the construction or construction law business refer to states as either “notice states” or “non-notice states.” This label designates a state as either requiring subcontractors and suppliers to send preliminary notices, or not requiring any such notices. If you are required to file a notice, and do not, you may completely forfeit your lien rights. Yikes!
Remember: All Notices Are Not Created Equal: Prelim Notice v Notice of Intent to Lien. Typically, notices can be divided into two categories: Preliminary Notices and Notices of Intent to Lien. It’s important to recognize the differences between each and understand which notice your state requires.
To help you understand the notice requirements in your state, we’ve created this nationwide map of notice requirements.
States colored red require delivery of preliminary notice to preserve your lien rights. When (and to whom) these notices should be delivered will vary from state-to-state. Examine each state’s individual laws for their specific notice requirements. Typically, they must be delivered immediately after work begins on a construction project.
States colored blue require delivery of a “notice of intent to lien” prior to filing a mechanics lien. Typically, these notices need not be delivered when work begins, but only within a certain period before actually filing a mechanics lien. The timing requirements vary from state to state, and examination of each state’s individual laws is required to understand the applicable requirements.
States colored green require both preliminary notices and notices of intent to lien to preserve and enforce your mechanics lien rights. Again, examination of each state’s individual lien laws is required to determine who is required to send notices, and how and when notices are required.