Waiting for Payment in Arizona, Alaska, California, or Washington?

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FILE A STOP NOTICE

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  • Are you getting slow-paid?
  • Are your accounts receivables spiraling out of control?
  • Is someone making up a dispute about your work to avoid payment?
  • Are you unpaid because your customer can’t get paid from
    the developer or GC?

In some states, Stop Notices are available to contractors and suppliers as an alternative to (or in addition to) a mechanics lien claim. A Stop Notice is delivered to the prime contractor or property owner, and demands that they withhold enough funds to pay your claim. If the property owner or prime contractor is in possession of funds at the time your Stop Notice is sent, they will be responsible for payment of your claim if they disburse those funds to other parties.

Typically, after receiving a Stop Notice, the property owner or prime contractor will stop paying “down the contracting chain” until your claim is resolved.

Stop Notices are available in Arizona, Alaska, California, and Washington. A Stop Notice has no legal effect in other states. This highlights the importance of knowing what remedies are available to combat payment issues in your state.

If available in your project’s state, the Stop Notice may be a good option to prompt payment because it frequently does not have deadlines (only effective if the receiving party is holding funds), and because it is a remedy available to you in addition to your mechanic lien rights.

When it’s time to process your Stop Notice, trust zlien to help you get paid. You can use our industry leading technology to make your claim in minutes.

The Difference Between a Stop Notice and a Mechanics Lien

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What Is a Stop Notice?

Stop Notices and Mechanics Liens are in the same “Lien Universe,” but they have significant differences. Understanding these differences can be key to making a good decision about whether to file one or both of the documents. A more in-depth analysis of the differences between the Stop Notice and the Mechanics Lien is found here: The Differences Between A Stop Notice And A Mechanics Lien.

1: Stop Notice Not Available Everywhere
When unpaid on a construction project anywhere in the United States, the unpaid party can file a mechanics lien. That remedy is available in every state. The Stop Notice remedy, however, is only available in a minority of states including Alaska, Arizona, California, and Washington. If the law isn’t available in your project’s state, there’s no such thing as a stop notice.

2: Stop Notices Impact Project Funds, Not Project Property
When you file a mechanics lien, your claim is actually made against the project jobsite. If worse comes to worse, you can put the project jobsite on the auction block to pay your claim, and the owner could wind up paying for the work twice. In the Stop Notice world, however, the claim is made only against “project funds,” which simply means the amount of money still in the owner’s control. If the owner hasn’t disbursed funds to the general contractor, those funds are “attached” by filing a Stop Notice.

3: Typically Sent And Not Formally Recorded
Another key difference between Stop Notices and Mechanics Liens is that Stop Notices are not usually recorded with the county recorder. Instead, they need only be delivered in some way to the applicable parties. While this makes the filing a bit less bureaucratic, it is actually more risky and difficult, because you may later be called upon to prove that the Stop Notice was sent and delivered on a certain date. Therefore, you want to be careful about who sends your Stop Notices, how they are tracked, and followup on all returned mail and deliveries.

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