States either require a Notice of Right to File Lien, a Notice of Intent to File Lien or both. Some states don’t require any notices. The following is a cheat sheet to help know whether any notice is required and the type for each state:
Notice of Right to File a Lien:
Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
Notice of Intent to File a Lien:
Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
The Main Difference Between the Two Types of Notice is the Timing
Right notices are generally required at the beginning of work, although some states will let you file late but it limits the coverage of the lien. Intent notices aren’t necessary until you haven’t received payments that are owed and you intend to file a lien. Intent notices generally have a time limit, so don’t wait too long before filing, even if you receive sincere promises of payment from the company that owes you money.
States Use Different Names For Each Notice
States also don’t use the same names for the each of these notices. For example, Massachusetts’ name for a Right notice is “Notice of Contract” and Hawaii’s name for an Intent notice is “Application for a Lien”. No matter the name, it’s important that you know what is required in every state you perform work in.
Who Gets The Notice
States will also vary on who gets the notice. Some states only require that you send the notice to the owner of the property. Others require notice to all contracts above you up to the owner. Some states even require that Right notices and/or Intent notices be filed in a county or other official record.
The Information Required for Each Notice
Each notice you send will require specific information be included or the notice will not be valid. Some state’s will provide a form to help you avoid leaving out required information but that is rare. Most states list the requirements in the statutory laws and assume you will find and understand the requirements. Either way, it’s vital to get the notices right or all your work to protect your payments will be void.
The Rules Change
Finally, the rules on these notices can change depending on factor such as: what tier subcontractor are you from the owner, is the work private or public, is the work residential or commercial, does the project involve railroads or other public works properties with special requirements. This 2-minute summary is only the beginning to your understanding of each state’s notice requirements. If you truly want to protect your lien rights and receive the money you’ve earned, it is always best to consult a local lien attorney to assure your rights to payment are protected.