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Frequently Asked Questions

Warning: The information contained in this web site is not intended to constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction that you have retained to represent you.

What is the function of a Preliminary Notice?

A Preliminary Notice is a document that notifies the owner of a property, the general contractor, and the construction lender, that if the party (the Claimant) providing the Preliminary Notice is not paid for works or materials rendered, the Claimant will have the right to record a Mechanics’ Lien against the owner’s property, and/or file a Stop Payment Notice against the funds held by the construction lender, and/or file a claim for payment against the general contractor’s Payment Bond.

Who MUST serve a Preliminary Notice?

As a general rule, EVERY subcontractor and materials supplier furnishing labor, services, equipment or materials to a construction project without a direct contract of the project, MUST serve a written Preliminary Notice to the property owner, general contractor, and the construction lender as a prerequisite to the recording of a valid Mechanic’s Lien, Stop Payment Notice, or Payment Bond Claim.

When should a Preliminary Notice be served?

The majority of States require that the Preliminary Notice be sent within 20 days of the start of furnishing labor, services, equipment or materials to the construction project. It is imperative that the timing be correct, because failure to properly serve a Preliminary Notice within the time your State requires could result in a loss of your Mechanic’s Lien rights. Your PROLIEN account handler will be able to advise you as to the rules specific to the State in which your project is situated.

What works are covered by recording a Preliminary Notice?

As a general rule, in order for there to be a lien right, the work and/or materials, must be incorporated into the structure.

What happens if the information on my Preliminary Notice is not accurate?

The listing of the REAL property Owner, an accurate job site description of the property, as well as the correct names and addresses of all the entities named in the preliminary notice is crucial. If the filing of a Mechanic’s Lien is required, and a lawsuit commences, one of the first challenges to your lawsuit will be the accuracy of the Preliminary Notice information. Any slight discrepancy on the Preliminary Notice can be grounds for the courts to dismiss the lawsuit on the basis that the initial notice was invalid, and rescind your lien rights. Therefore, it is imperative you do not rely on information provided to you by your customer without research and verification. The expertise required to complete this research is by far the most compelling reason to choose PROLIEN as your Construction Document Service Provider.

How does PROLIEN ensure that my Preliminary Notice is accurate?

At PROLIEN, our experienced staff uses a variety of research methods to ensure the information on each Preliminary Notice is accurate. They employ a variety of sources, including: State and Federal agencies, County records, licensing entities, and where necessary, personal calls, independently verifying each listing on your preliminary notice to meet the legal requirements to perfect your lien rights. Only when we are satisfied that the information is accurate, do we serve the preliminary notice.

How are Preliminary Notices Served?

PROLIEN uses certified mail to guarantee delivery and provide official confirmation that the Notice was received.

How much does it cost to serve a preliminary notice?

The cost of researching and filing a Preliminary Notice varies by state and the number of Notices sent out per month. Our Preliminary Notice Service Fee includes research, verification and delivery to The Owner, Lender (if any), General Contractor (if different from the Sub Contractor), Your Customer (if different than above) and a hard copy of the completed Preliminary Notice for your records. Additionally, each Customer Account is supervised by a Mechanic’s Lien Attorney to ensure that the Notices are accurate and adhere to the most current State regulations.

For a full listing of fees, please see 2016 price list.

Please contact us today so that we can develop a personalized quote to best reflect your needs.

When should a Mechanic’s Lien be Recorded?

The amount of time available to record a Mechanic’s Lien depends on when the construction or work on the project stopped and whether a Notice of Completion or Cessation has been recorded with the County Recorder. If no Notices of Cessation or Completion have been recorded, the majority of States allow all claimants entitled to a lien, 90 days to record their liens from the date the entire construction project was completed.

Your PROLIEN account handler will be able to advise you as to the rules specific to the State in which your project is situated.

Is an unlicensed contractor entitled to Mechanic’s Lien rights?

Many states prohibit a contractor from suing to recover compensation unless the contractor was duly licensed at all times during the performance of the work or contract.

Use the PROLIEN Customer Service Hotline to find out what the rule is in your particular state.

Will a Mechanics’ Lien expire?

YES, your Mechanic’s Lien will expire. Each state has its own expiration time limit. In many states this time is 90 days from the recording of the Mechanic’s Lien to the filing of a lawsuit, however, there are certain instances that can reduce the time allowed to file suit. This is a complicated area of Mechanic’s Lien Law, and we recommend that you contact our CustomerService Hotline if you have any questions regarding the expiration date of your Lien.

What happens if you file a Mechanic’s Lien and do not take any further action?

In the majority of States, you must file a lawsuit within 90 days after recording the mechanics Lien with the County Recorders office. If you do not file suit to foreclose on the lien within the time allowed by your state, the lien will become unenforceable and you will have lost your lien rights. Even worse, you can be sued by the owner if you fail / refuse to release your expired lien. If the court orders the lien expunged, you are responsive for the other party’s attorneys fees and costs.

What is a Notice of Completion filing?

The Notice of Completion is a formal document filed by the property owner to record the completion of a construction project. The filing of this Notice may have profound consequences to your Mechanic’s Lien expiration dates.

Should I keep track of Notice of Completion filings?

YES, it is imperative that Notice of Completions be tracked. In many States, the filing of a Notice of Completion by the property owner will bring forward the date in which you must record your Mechanics’ Lien. This will effect the time you have to file suit. Therefore, it is crucial that these filings are tracked, as the owner may not be required to individually notify you this filing has occurred.

Contact your PROLIEN account handler for more information on this valuable service.

How do you enforce a Mechanic’s Lien once it has been recorded?

In order to enforce a Mechanic’s Lien, a lawsuit must be filed in Superior Court. You cannot file a Mechanic’s Lien lawsuit in Small Claims Court. When a judgment is obtained, the property may be ordered sold in order to pay the Mechanic’s Lien.

When should I get an attorney?

The laws for enforcing Mechanic’s Liens are complicated and often confusing. You are wise to seek the assistance of a competent attorney that understands Mechanic’s Lien Law before you consider foreclosing on the lien. This could save you a significant amount of money in the long run.

If you would like to discuss your rights regarding Mechanic’s Liens, please contact our offices. We will be happy to evaluate your situation and recommend a cost effective solution We have an experienced mechanics lien attorney on staff to answer your questions and, if necessary, to represent you to enforce your lien rights of filing suit. We offer reduced hourly rates, flat fee arbitration and contingency fee agreements.

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