Rhode Island
Mechanics Lien & Notice FAQs

It’s easy to file Rhode Island mechanics liens with zlien, the web’s leading all-in-one mechanics lien compliance manager and security platform. Plus, the zlien platform can help you prepare and file mechanics lien cancellations, preliminary notices, and more. To learn more about Rhode Island’s mechanics lien law, read the information below.

View All FAQs

Rhode Island

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
10 Days

Notice of Possible Mechanic's Lien required within 10 days of commencing work. Notice of Intent must be given to Owner within same 200-day period as lien.

Rhode Island

Mechanics Lien Deadlines
200 Days

Lien must be filed w/in 200 days after last labor or materials furnished, enforced 40 days after filing.

File your Rhode Island lien online now.

Rhode Island

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
200 Days

Notice of Intent must be given to Owner within same 200-day period as lien.

Rhode Island

Mechanics Lien Deadlines
200 Days

Lien must be filed w/in 200 days after last labor or materials furnished, enforced 40 days after filing.

File your Rhode Island lien online now.

Rhode Island

Preliminary Notice Deadlines
200 Days

Notice of Intent must be given to Owner within same 200-day period as lien.

Rhode Island

Mechanics Lien Deadlines
200 Days

Lien must be filed w/in 200 days after last labor or materials furnished, enforced 40 days after filing.

File your Rhode Island lien online now.

Calculate your deadline with the Payment Rights Advisor >

5 Things to Know About Rhode Island Mechanics Liens

1) Rhode Island Allows Most Parties to File a Mechanics Lien

Rhode Island allows for virtually all parties who furnish labor and materials on a construction project to file a mechanics lien. There is no limit to who can file a mechanics lien by project tier, so sub-sub-subcontractors are protected. Further, suppliers to suppliers may have lien rights (although it is not expressly stated in the statute).

2) A Mechanics Lien in Rhode Island Only Covers 200 Days Prior to Filing the Lien

The deadline to file a Rhode Island mechanics lien is 200 days from the last furnishing date of labor or materials. However, it is important to note that the lien only covers a period of 200 days prior to the filing of the lien. All work done more than 200 days prior to filing the lien is uncovered. For long projects, then, more than one lien may be required.

3) Intent to Lien Can Ultimately Act as the Lien

In Rhode Island, there is a required Notice of Intent to Lien for all lien claimants. This notice can eventually act as the lien itself. This is unique to Rhode Island. Once the notice has been served on the owner, it may be filed with the town clerk, recorder of deeds, or office of records of land evidence, this filing changes the notice into the lien itself.

4) A Legal Description Is Not Required

Rhode Island does not require a legal property description of the property on the lien itself. Rather a general description of the property that is enough to identify it with reasonable certainty. This can be as simple as the street name and number.

5) No Notice of Lien Filing Is Required

Once the Notice of Intent is sent and the lien is filed, a project participant is not required to send notice that the lien has been recorded. The recordation of the lien in the appropriate office is the only step required.


Rhode Island Contractors are required to send a Notice of Intent before a Mechanics Lien

Easy paperwork to get you paid

  • Get the right form for you
    Answer easy questions about your project to find the right form
  • Complete and send in minutes
    Send digitally or print and send yourself
  • We’re here to help
    Expert help available every step of the way

Need a Rhode Island notice of intent to lien?

Fill it out for free

Start my notice

Rhode Island Frequently Asked Questions

Rhode Island Mechanics Lien FAQs

In Rhode Island, all parties who furnish labor and/or materials to a construction project are entitled to mechanics lien protection. There is no limit as to what tier of the project the potential lien claimant may inhabit, so sub-sub-subs are likely entitled to lien rights. Further, suppliers to suppliers may also have lien rights, but it is not expressly specified by the statute. All work exceeding $1000 must be pursuant to a written contract containing certain consumer education statements.

In Rhode Island the lien must be filed within 200 days of the last date the lien claimant furnished labor and/or materials to the project. Note, however, that the lien only relates back 200 days, so labor or material furnished prior to that date will not be covered by the lien. The lien will, however, cover all retainage since the beginning of the work. Rhode Island is unique in that the lien is the same as the preliminary notice. The Notice of Intent is served on the owner and, if non-payment continues, the same notice may be filed, at which time it becomes the lien itself.

No. The lien (after the notice of intent) must only be filed with the town clerk, recorder of deeds, or office of records of land evidence of the county in which the project is located.

Attorney’s fees and collection costs are not allowable in the lien claim. However, Rhode Island is fairly liberal as far as what is recoverable through a mechanics lien filing. In an action to enforce a mechanics lien, interest is recoverable from the date on which the notice of intent was filed, as well as reasonable profits factored into contracts. When the property is sold to satisfy a lien claimant, the damages are determined by the difference in value of the property before and after the improvements.

In Rhode Island a Complaint to Enforce a Mechanics Lien must be filed within 7 days after filing a Notice of Lis Pendens. Both the Notice of Lis Pendens and the Complaint to Enforce must be filed with 40 days of the date on which the lien was filed.

No. Mechanics liens have priority over other encumbrances that are recorded subsequently to the mechanics lien, and do not have priority over any encumbrance the mechanics lien is filed subsequently to. It is possible for a mechanics lien to jump ahead of and prioritize over a lender’s right even if the loan documents were filed before the mechanics lien claim according to a §34-28-16, as underscored by a recent Supreme Court decision. In that case, the Supreme Court allowed a mechanics lien claimant to leapfrog a pre-existing mortgage because the mortgage company did not appear in the mechanics lien foreclosure action or file a timely answer. See: Rhode Island Mechanics Lien: Lenders Can Lose Priority Without Fast Action. As to competing mechanics liens, all mechanics liens share equal priority and share pro-rata distribution from any foreclosure sale.

Yes. A mechanics lien in Rhode Island must be notarized in order to be valid.

Rhode Island requires that contractors must be registered to obtain a building permit or to bid on projects, and contractors are also required to hire only registered subcontractors.

Yes. A mechanics lien may be filed against a condominium project in Rhode Island to the extent you are a party otherwise allowed to file a mechanics lien.

There is no specific provision in Rhode Island mechanics lien law outlining the responsibilities of parties to release the lien when payment is received prior to an enforcement action. Generally speaking, however, when payment is received after a lien has been filed, that payment is usually made in consideration of the lien’s release.

Rhode Island does not have statutory lien waiver forms; therefore, you can use any lien waiver form. Since lien waivers are unregulated, be careful when reviewing and signing lien waivers.

Rhode Island prohibits the waiver of lien rights in advance of payment. Waivers executed and delivered simultaneously with or after payment for the labor performed or the materials furnished are allowable.

To learn more about lien waivers, see our Rhode Island Lien Waiver FAQs and Resources.

Rhode Island Preliminary Notice FAQs

Yes. Rhode Island requires potential lien claimants to provide preliminary notice. However, in Rhode Island, the Notice of Intent is a required first step in the perfection of the actual lien itself. Once the Notice of Intent has been mailed (registered or certified mail, return receipt requested) it may be filed, and the subsequent filing perfects the lien. There are different preliminary notices that may be required depending on the project type and the role of the potential lien claimant. All potential lien claimants are required to send a Notice of Intent to Lien for projects in Rhode Island in order to have mechanics lien rights. The notice must be sent with a statement that the Notice of Intent may be filed in the appropriate land records and that the mailing and filing of the Notice of Intent combined will be sufficient to perfect the lien. General contractors are also required to provide an additional earlier notice to the property owner or lessee/tenant of land on which they are furnishing labor and/or materials.

The Notice of Intent to Lien must be mailed to the property owner no later than 200 days after the date on which the lien claimant last furnished labor and/or materials to the project. As this notice actually functions as the lien itself when filed, the period for sending the notice is the same as the period in which the lien must be filed. The general contractor’s notice to owner must be received within 10 days from the commencement of work.

Failure to send the required Notice of Intent to Lien within the mandated time period is fatal to a lien claim in Rhode Island, as sending and (later) filing the Notice of Intent is what perfects the lien claim. If the general contractor’s Notice to Owner is not provided within the statutory time period, it is fatal to the general’s lien claim. Further, the general who fails to give the notice must “indemnify and hold harmless any owner, lessee or tenant, or owner of less than the fee simple from any payment or costs incurred on account of any liens claims by those not in privity with them, unless such owner, lessee or tenant, or owner of less that the fee simple shall not have paid such person”.

Both the Notice of Intent to Lien and the general contractor’s Notice to Owner must be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested.

Preliminary notice must only be given to the property owner (and lessee/tenant if applicable).

The preliminary notice is considered delivered when sent by certified mail, return receipt requested.