Is a Notice of Lien Required in Your State?

adminMechanics Lien, Notice of Intent, Preliminary Notice

This blog is for educational purposes only and not intended for legal advice.

Preliminary notices, or notice of lien, are sent near the time that one begins work on a project, in order to notify the prime contractor, property owners, and project lenders of your company’s involvement on the project. In many states, they are required to secure the right to file a construction lien later.

If the preliminary notice is served and the contractor is paid, the notice will have no more legal effect. However, if the claimant’s bill is not paid, a Construction Lien can then be filed on the property.

Failing to give preliminary notice in some states means that you may not be allowed to file a Construction Lien on the property.

Every state is different.

  •  A preliminary notice must be delivered in most states, while some other states don’t require a preliminary notice. Some cases courts have found the notice not required, but a best practice. At National Lien and Bond, we suggest always filing a preliminary notice in any state, and carefully following the state’s requirements to protect your payment.
  • States call these notices by several different names, including: Notice to Owner; Notice to Owner and Contractor; Notice of Furnishing; and Notice of Right to Lien.
  • Some states require notice from only subcontractors, others from all participants in the project. More states require notices for sub-contractors than for prime or general contractors.

So, what are each state’s rules about Preliminary Notice?

  • Alabama – (subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers)-The state law requires a notice sent to the owner before the performance of the project.
  • Alaska – (general contractors, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) A Notice of Right to Lien is served to the owner of the property before starting the work. This proves that the proprietor has consented the work.
  • Arizona – (general contractors, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) Requires service of a ‘Preliminary Twenty Day Notice’. This must be sent within twenty days after starting work on the project.
  • Arkansas – (general contractors, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) A Notice to Owner and Contractor must be sent to the owner of a residential property before commencing work, or, for commercial projects, the notice must be sent within 75 days of completion.
  • California – (general contractors, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) A preliminary notice is sent within twenty days from when you first furnished labor or materials to the job site (here is a detailed article on the preliminary notice process in California)
  • Connecticut– For general contractors, there is no notice requirement, however, it is advised to file an affidavit with the country clerk within 15 days of commencing work. For subcontractors and suppliers, there is no preliminary notice requirement, however, a notice of intent must be filed before commencing the lien process.
  • Colorado– None, but sending a preliminary notice is always a best practice. Colorado does require the extra step of filing a notice of intent before a lien can be filed.
  • Delaware– None, but sending a preliminary notice is always a best practice.
  • Florida – (general contractors, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) A notice must be sent to the owner within 45 days of starting the work.
  • Georgia – (subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers). If the owner files a Notice of Commencement, the Notice to Contractor must be sent to Owner and Contractor within 30 days of first delivering services or materials.
  • Hawaii– None, but filing a preliminary notice is always a best practice.
  • Idaho– (Prime Contractors) In Idaho, prime/general contractors are required to give notice for some residential jobs.
  • Illinois– (subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers)  Illinois requires 60 days notice on all Residential projects and 90-days notices on all commercial projects for subs and suppliers.
  • Indiana – (subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) A notice is required either 30 or 60 days after commencement of work/furnishing on some residential projects, and 90 days after the end of some commercial projects.
  • Iowa – (general contractors, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) For residential projects, a notice is required upon commencement of work. For commercial projects, a notice may be required within 30 days of the first furnishing.
  • Kansas – None, but sending a preliminary notice is always a best practice. Kansas does require the extra step of filing a notice of intent before a lien can be filed.
  • Kentucky– (general contractors, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) Depending upon the type of project, Kentucky requires between 75- and 120-days’ notice from final furnishing.
  • Louisiana – (general contractors, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) For some projects, a Notice of Contract is required before work begins. For suppliers, notice may be required 30 or 60 days after furnishing. Also, Louisiana requires a notice of intent before a lien can be filed.
  • Maine– None, but sending a preliminary notice is always a best practice.
  • Maryland– None, but sending a preliminary notice is always a best practice. Maryland also requires a notice of intent before a lien can be filed.
  • Massachusetts – (subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) Some sub-contractors and suppliers are required to provide Notice of Identification 30 days after starting work on the project.
  • Michigan – (general contractors, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) A preliminary notice must be sent by the general contractor upon request. For subs and suppliers, notice is required 20 days after first furnishing.
  • Minnesota– (general contractors, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) A preliminary notice is required from the general contractor, but can be included in the contract itself. For subcontractors, and equipment and material providers, notice is due within 45 days of first furnishing.
  • Mississippi– (general contractors, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) General contractors must provide notice of subs and suppliers upon request, in addition to including general notice in the contract. Subcontractors and suppliers may provide notice through a contract with the general contractor or owner, or in the alternative may send notice within 30 days of first furnishing. Mississippi also has pre-lien notice requirements.
  • Missouri– There is a pre-lien notice requirement for original contractors.  If one is not provided, there are no lien rights.   The notice shall be provided by the original contractor to the person with whom the contract is made or to the owner if there is no contract, prior to receiving payment in any form of any kind from such person, (a) either at the time of the execution of the contract, (b) when the materials are delivered, (c) when the work is commenced, or (d) delivered with the first invoice.
  • Montana – (general contractors, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) A preliminary notice is required only for some projects within the 20-day period after first furnishing.
  • Nebraska – None, but sending a preliminary notice is always a best practice.
  • Nevada – (subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) Subcontractors and suppliers must provide Notice to owner and general contractor within 31 days of first furnishing labor or materials. In addition, for general and subcontractors as well as suppliers, a Notice of Intent is required 15 days prior to filing a lien on residential projects.
  • New Hampshire– (general contractors, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) New Hampshire has timelines and rules associated with providing both a Notice of Furnishing and an Account of Work Performed.
  • New Jersey – (general contractors, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) A notice of any unpaid balance should be sent within 60 days after completion of any residential project. A notice must be served within ten days of the end of a commercial project.
  • New Mexico – (subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) On some projects, a notice is required 60 days after first furnishing.
  • New York – None, but sending a preliminary notice is always a best practice.
  • North Carolina – (general contractors, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) A notice is required within 15 days of first furnishing.
  • North Dakota – None, but sending a preliminary notice is always a best practice. North Dakota does require the extra step of filing a notice of intent before a lien can be filed.
  • Ohio – (general contractors, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) A preliminary notice is required for commercial projects within 21 days after starting the work.
  • Oklahoma – (general contractors, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) A notice is required within 75 days of first furnishing for sub-contractors and equipment suppliers, depending on the type of job and cost of labor or goods, and in some cases may also be required for general contractors.
  • Oregon – (general contractors, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) When the contracted work begins, a notice must be served to the owner within eight business days.
  •  Pennsylvania – (general contractors, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) In Pennsylvania, if a Notice of Commencement was filed, a Notice of Furnishing must be filed within 45 days of first furnishing labor and materials. In addition, a 30-day notice is required before filing a lien.
  • Rhode Island – (general contractors, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) Preliminary notice within 10 days of commencement of work. Notice is also required before filing lien.
  • South Carolina – (general contractors, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers)  Notice of Furnishing is not a precondition to the right to perfect a mechanic’s lien in South Carolina.
  • South Dakota – (subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) If a Notice of Commencement is filed, some subcontractors and suppliers to subcontractors must give Preliminary Notice (to owner and general contractor) within 60 days of last furnishing labor or materials.
  • Tennessee– (subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) A Notice to Owner is required before starting the project.
  • Texas – (subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) There are monthly notice requirements, depending on type of project, which require notifying owner and other parties when work has been performed, or goods/equipment supplied but is unpaid.
  • Utah – (general contractors, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) A preliminary notice is required within 20 days after providing the first services.
  • Vermont – None, but sending a preliminary notice is always a best practice.
  • Virginia– (general contractors, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) A preliminary notice is required within 30 days of the first furnishing.
  • Washington – (general contractors, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) A preliminary notice is required ten days from the first furnishing of a residential project, and within 60 days on a commercial project.
  • West Virginia – None, but sending a preliminary notice is always a best practice.
  • Wisconsin– (general contractors, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) General contractors can provide notice in the contract, or served within 10 days of beginning work. Subcontractors and suppliers must provide notice within 60 days of first furnishing. In addition, a 30-day notice is required prior to filing a lien.
  • Wyoming– (general contractors, subcontractors, material and equipment suppliers) For general contractors, a notice must be filed prior to receiving payment. Subcontractors and suppliers must provide notice within 30 days of first furnishing. In addition, a 20-day notice is required prior to filing a lien.

Although the preliminary notices differ from state to state, sending out an accurate and timely notice is crucial to maintaining your lien rights. A preliminary notice gives you the benefit of an added level of protection. It is important to have the correct form and follow all the statutory requirements provided by your state.

If you’re running projects in multiple jurisdictions, it might feel complicated keeping up with the different rules and procedures for each. That’s where the team at National Lien & Bond can provide valuable assistance. We will help you set up your processes such that you’re collecting all the right information on the front end and make sure you’re tracking and filing mechanics liens and required notices in a timely fashion. For more information, or to learn about our valuable lien seminars, reach out today.

Request a customized lien seminar for your company


This blog is for educational purposes only and not intended for legal advice.