Construction Notices - Served Upon Mailing or Delivery?

Given the impact of COVID-19 on construction, many businesses have been forced to close their doors, whether it be temporarily or permanently. This means that securing your lien rights during this time is more important than ever. However, this inevitably raises questions in contractors’ minds. When is a construction notice served – upon mailing, or upon delivery? What if my notice was never delivered? What if it was returned undelivered? What happens to my mechanics lien rights? This article will break down the service requirements and when they’ve been met in each state.

Delivering construction notices to protect lien rights

Mechanics lien laws are different in each state, this includes all of the notice requirements. There are a variety of different types of notices in construction. Preliminary notices, notice of intent to lien, notice of a lien claim, etc. Sending these notices is an important part of protecting your right to file a mechanics lien if you don’t get paid. However, it’s important to understand the notice requirements in your state – including how and when the state considers a notice served.


Download the Notice Mailing Requirement Checklist


Mailing requirements for construction notices

Each state has a specific method of delivering notices through the mail, i.e. certified, registered, first-class, return receipt requested, and so on.

In addition to the means of service, the lien laws also provide (for the most part) when they consider service to be complete.

States generally approach service of construction notices in one of two ways:

  • Served upon mailing
  • Served upon actual receipt

Of course, there are a few outliers that don’t fit neatly into these two camps.

In an attempt to ease some of these concerns, we’ve compiled a list of states with lien notice service requirements, and when the notice is considered served.

*Note: many of these notices can also be personally served, but for the purposes of this guide we’ve focused on the mailing requirements. Additionally, notices that can only be served by personal delivery or through the Sheriff’s Office have been excluded.

Levelset Software Product Screenshot

Send a Preliminary Notice for Free

We’re the Preliminary Notice experts. With us it’s fast, easy, and done right. Send notices for free.

File Now

States where notice is served upon mailing

In the following states, as long as the notice is mailed in the proper manner, the notice is considered served on the date the notice is deposited in the mail.

Arizona

  • 20-Day Preliminary Notice: first-class mail (with a certificate of mailing), or by registered or certified mail, with the sender obtaining a certificate of mailing, receipt of registration, or receipt of certification
  • Notice of Claim of Lien: registered or certified mail
    • Note: when service of this notice is complete is unclear, assume upon actual receipt

Arkansas

  • Pre-Construction Notice to Owner: certified mail with return receipt requested
  • Notice to Owner/Contractor: certified mail with return receipt requested, restricted delivery to the addressee; or by any means that provides written third-party verification of delivery
  • Notice of Intent to Lien: certified mail with return receipt requested, restricted delivery to the addressee; or by any means that provides written third-party verification of delivery
  • Notice of Claim of Lien: certified mail with return receipt requested, restricted delivery to the addressee; or by any means that provides written third-party verification of delivery

*Note: if the notice is undelivered/refused, the notice should be sent immediately by first class mail, and the undelivered envelope from the  initial service attempt is proof of compliance with the notice requirements

California

  • 20-Day Preliminary Notice: registered or certified mail, express mail, or overnight delivery by an express service carrier
  • Notice of Claim of Lien: registered or certified mail, or first-class mail, evidenced by a certificate of mailing

Colorado

Delaware

  • Notice to Lien Holders: certified mail with return receipt requested

Georgia

  • Notice to Contractor: filed & sent registered or certified mail, or by statutory overnight delivery
  • Preliminary Notice of Lien Rights: registered or certified mail, or by statutory overnight delivery
  • Notice of Claim of Lien: registered or certified mail, or by statutory overnight delivery

Idaho

  • Notice of Claim of Lien: certified mail with return receipt requested

Indiana

Iowa

Kentucky

  • Notice to Owner: no specific requirements, but should have proof of mailing, certified mail is recommended
  • Notice of Claim of Lien: no specific requirements, but should have proof of mailing, certified mail is recommended

Maine

  • Notice to Owner: no specific requirements, but should have proof of mailing, certified mail is recommended
  • Notice of Claim of Lien: no specific requirements, but should have proof of mailing, certified mail is recommended

Massachusetts

  • Notice of Identification: certified mail with return receipt requested
  • Notice of Contract: filed & sent certified mail with return receipt requested
  • Notice of Subcontract: filed & sent certified mail with return receipt requested
  • Notice of Claim of Lien: certified mail with return receipt requested
    • Note: when service of this notice is complete is unclear, assume upon actual receipt

Michigan

  • Notice of Furnishing: certified mail with return receipt requested
  • Notice of Lien Claim: certified mail with return receipt requested

Minnesota

  • General Contractor’s Notice: in contract or by certified mail
  • Lien Claimant’s Notice: certified mail
  • Notice of Claim of Lien: certified mail

Mississippi

  • Preliminary notice: registered or certified mail, statutory overnight delivery, or email with confirmed receipt
  • Pre-lien notice (residential): no specific requirements, but should have proof of mailing, certified mail is recommended
  • Notice of Claim of Lien: registered or certified mail, or statutory overnight delivery
    • Note: when service of this notice is complete is unclear, assume upon actual receipt

Missouri

Montana

  • Preliminary Notice: certified mail with return receipt requested
  • Notice of Claim of Lien: certified mail with return receipt requested
    • Note: when service of this notice is complete is unclear, assume upon actual receipt

Nebraska

  • Preliminary Notice: no specific requirements, but should have proof of mailing, certified mail is recommended
  • Notice of Claim of Lien: no specific requirements, but should have proof of mailing, certified mail is recommended
    • Note: when service of this notice is complete is unclear, assume upon actual receipt

Nevada

New Jersey

  • Notice of Unpaid Balance & Right to Claim Lien
    • Non-residential projects: filed
    • Residential projects: filed and sent by both certified mail with return receipt requested AND regular mail
  • Notice of Lien Claim Lien: by both certified mail with return receipt requested AND regular mail

New Mexico

  • Preliminary notices: certified mail with return receipt requested, or by fax with acknowledgment

North Carolina

  • Notice to Lien Agent: posted on LiensNC.com, or certified mail with return receipt requested, USPS delivery with signature confirmation, fax with acknowledgment, or email with confirmed receipt
  • Notice of Contract/Subcontract: no specific requirements, but should have proof of mailing, certified mail is recommended
  • Notice of Claim of Lien: no specific requirements, but should have proof of mailing, certified mail is recommended

Oklahoma

  • Pre-lien Notice: no specific requirements, but should have proof of mailing, certified mail is recommended
  • Notice of Claim of Lien: certified mail with return receipt requested, or if unable, posting on the job site

Rhode Island

  • Notice of Intent to Lien: certified mail, return receipt requested
  • Notice of Filing of Claim: certified mail, return receipt requested
    • Note: when service of this notice is complete is unclear, assume upon actual receipt

South Carolina

  • Notice of Furnishing: certified mail

South Dakota

  • Notice of Furnishing: registered or certified mail
  • Notice of Claim of Lien: registered or certified mail
    • Note: when service of this notice is complete is unclear, assume upon actual receipt

Texas

Utah

Virginia

  • Notice to Mechanics Lien Agent: registered or certified mail with return receipt requested
  • Notice to Owner/Contractor: registered or certified mail with return receipt requested
  • Notice of Mechanics Lien: registered or certified mail with return receipt requested
    • Note: when service of this notice is complete is unclear, assume upon actual receipt

Washington

*Note: service is complete 3 days after mailing (excluding Sat, Sun, & legal holidays)

Wyoming

  • Preliminary Notice of Right to Lien: certified mail with return receipt requested
  • Notice of Intent to Lien: certified mail with return receipt requested
  • Notice of Claim of Lien: certified mail with return receipt requested
    • Note: when service of this notice is complete is unclear, assume upon actual receipt

States where notice is served upon mailing (but must prove delivery)

In these states, although the notice requirement is technically “met” when sent in the proper method, there’s a catch. Actual receipt is still required, and the burden is on the claimant to prove actual delivery.

Illinois

  • 60-Day Notice: certified mail with return receipt requested and delivery restricted to the addressee only
  • Notice of Intent to Lien: certified mail with return receipt requested and delivery restricted to the addressee only
  • Notice of Claim of Lien: certified mail with return receipt requested and delivery restricted to the addressee only

Kansas

  • Warning Statement: no specific requirements, recommend certified mail with return receipt requested
  • Notice of Intent to Perform: filed & sent certified mail with return receipt requested
  • Notice of Claim of Lien:
    • GCs: both certified and regular mail
    • All other claimants: personal service (in-state), or mail with delivery restricted to the addressee only (out-of-state)

States where service depends on delivery method

These states don’t necessarily fit into one category or the other. Under notice statutes in these states, the time when service is completed can vary depending on the method of delivery.

 Florida

  • Notice to Owner: registered, Global Express Guaranteed, or certified mail
    • Service is complete upon mailing if sent within 40 days of first furnishing of labor or materials to the project
      • Otherwise, upon receipt
  • Notice of Claim: registered or certified mail with return receipt requested, or second-day delivery
    • Service is complete upon mailing

Lousiana

  • Notice of Lien Rights: registered or certified mail; parties can also agree to email
  • Notice of Nonpayment: registered or certified mail; parties can also agree to email
  • Notice of Lease: registered or certified mail; parties can also agree to email
  • Design Professional Notice: registered or certified mail; parties can also agree to email

*Note: if sent by registered or certified mail through USPS, service is complete upon mailing; if mailed by other means, service is complete upon actual receipt

Ohio

  • Notice of Furnishing: certified or registered mail, or overnight delivery
    • Upon mailing, however, if returned, then upon the first delivery attempt
  • Notice of Claim of Lien: certified or registered mail, or overnight delivery
    • Upon actual receipt, however, if returned, then when notice is posted on the job site

Pennsylvania

Tennessee

  • Notice to Owner: certified mail, return receipt requested
    • Service is complete upon mailing
  • Notice of Nonpayment: certified mail, return receipt requested
    • Service is complete upon mailing
  • Notice of Claim of Lien: certified mail, return receipt requested
    • Service is complete upon actual receipt

States where notice is served upon actual receipt

In these states, service is only considered complete once the party actually receives notice. These notices require planning and sending as early as possible to counter any issues with delivery.

Alabama

Alaska

  • Notice of Lien Rights: certified mail with return receipt requested

Connecticut

  • Notice of Intent: personal service by a marshal or other proper officer (in-town), registered or certified mail (out-of-town); if service/delivery fails then by publication in accordance with CT Gen. Stat. 1-2
  • Notice of Claim of Lien: personal service by a marshal or other proper officer (in-town), registered or certified mail (out-of-town); if service/delivery fails then by publication in accordance with CT Gen. Stat. 1-2

New York

  • Notice of Claim of Lien: certified mail, however, if returned, posted on the job site

North Dakota

Washington DC

  • Notice of Claim of Lien: certified mail, however, if returned, posted on the job site

West Virginia

  • Preliminary notice: no specific requirements, recommend certified mail with return receipt requested

Wisconsin

  • Prime Contractor Notice of Lien Rights: in contract or certified or registered mail, or some other method of with written confirmation of delivery
  • Subcontractor Identification Notice: 2 copies by certified or registered mail, or some other method of with written confirmation of delivery
  • Notice of Intent: certified or registered mail, or some other method of with written confirmation of delivery
  • Notice of Claim of Lien: certified or registered mail, or some other method of with written confirmation of delivery

States where the service requirements are unclear

In these few states, when the service requirements for lien notices are met is unclear. Therefore, the best practice is to assume that actual receipt is required.

New Hampshire

  • Preliminary/monthly notices: no specific requirements, recommend certified mail with return receipt requested

Oregon

  • Information Notice to Owner: certified or registered mail with return receipt requested, or first-class mail with a certificate of mailing
  • Notice of Right to Lien: certified or registered mail with return receipt requested
  • Notice of Claim of Lien: certified mail with return receipt requested, or some other form of delivery with third-party verification of delivery

Additional resources about delivering construction notices