The notice requirements in Virginia are fairly straight-forward.
According to the Code of Virginia, lien notice must only be provided on single or two family residential projects, and only if a Mechanics Lien Agent (MLA) is designated by the property owner in the project’s building permit.
If a MLA has been designated, the notice must be provided within 30 days of the contractor beginning work. If provided later, a contractor can only lien for materials or labor provided 30 days prior to the sending of notice, and beyond.
Notice must not take a particular form, but it does have to include (1) The name, mailing address and telephone number of the person (or company) sending the notice; (2) The building permit number; (3) A description of the property as shown on the building permit; and (4) A statement that the person filing such notice seeks payment for labor performed or material furnished
While the rule is simple and requires notice only in limited circumstances, the difficulty really becomes determining whether a MLA has been designated, and who exactly the MLA is.
A contractor can usually contact the building departments to get the mechanics lien agent on file. However, Express Lien can also investigate this matter for the contractor when preparing the 30-day notice.