Lien and Notice Deadlines

Lien rights exist in all 50 states to help contractors, suppliers, and other parties who work on construction projects get paid. There is always risk associated with performing work on credit, but lien rights provide security. Every state has their own construction laws that establish notice requirements you need to follow to protect your lien rights. This includes important deadlines to send notices and file the lien. Read on for more information about the requirements, and download free Lien & Notice Deadline Charts to pinpoint your deadline.

Is Notice Required To Protect Your Lien Rights?

In most states, the mechanics lien process involves four steps:

  1. Send Preliminary Notice
  2. Send Notice of Intent
  3. File a Mechanics Lien
  4. Enforce the Lien

In most cases, there are strict deadlines for performing each of these actions. As a result, failing to send a required notice in time or missing the deadline to file a lien can invalidate a mechanics lien claim.

To make it even more confusing, deadlines vary from one state to the next and depending on project role.

Lien & Notice Deadlines by Project Role

Download lien notice and filing deadline charts that cover lien and notice deadlines for specific project roles all 50 states:

Note that these charts provide a general overview. To find more information about your states deadlines and requirements, visit our mechanics lien main page and select your state.

(Looking for deadlines for public projects? See Bond Claim Deadlines in All 50 States.)

State deadlines for sending notices & filing liens

Sending Preliminary Notice

Most states require that construction parties send preliminary notice in order to secure the right to file a lien. These notices inform the property owner and general contractor of the sender’s involvement on a project, which helps provide transparency on the job. Ultimately, sending preliminary notice is important on every job, even if your state doesn’t require it.

Preliminary notices are typically sent shortly after work on a project begins. These notices go by different names in different states, including Notice to Owner, Notice of Furnishing, pre-lien, and more. Some states have lien laws that set out complicated notice requirements. For example, Texas requires contractors to send monthly notices on the 15th day of the second month, as well as third month notices.

Sending Notice of Intent

Sending notice of intent to lien (NTO) is only required in a handful of states, but it can be incredibly beneficial even when not required. This document serves as a final warning before a lien is filed, and because property owners often want to avoid dealing with a mechanics lien on their property, NTOs are often effective at getting the payment ball rolling.

Notices of intent are frequently sent shortly (usually a few weeks) before a lien is filed.

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Filing a Mechanics Lien

Typically, lien claimants are required to record their mechanics lien with the county where the  property is located. A lien makes a claim on the title of the improved real property, which serves as collateral until the claimant is paid.

The deadline for filing a lien varies between states, but in most cases, the timeframe is 3 months to a year after work on a project is completed. However, the lien deadline can be shorter if the property owner or GC takes specific action, such as filing a Notice of Completion.

Enforcing the Lien

If a lien claim doesn’t result in payment, the next step is to enforce the lien in court. For more information, read What Happens After You File a Mechanics Lien?

The deadline for enforcing a lien varies, but in most cases, the timeline is 6 months to 2 years.

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What did you contribute to the job? (select all that apply)
When did you work on the project?

If you don't know these dates, give your best estimate. Since these dates determine your notice and lien deadlines, it's important to be as accurate as possible.

Did you fulfill this project's notice requirements?

Did you send a {document type} to the {contractor role}
and general contractor by {deadline date}?

Did you send monthly notices for this project?

In Texas, subcontractors and suppliers are required to send a notice for each month that work is performed and unpaid. Based on your project type and role, your job has the following notice requirements. Did you fulfill this notice requirement?

What is my job's monthly notice requirement?

For subcontractors on residential proejcts, notice is required to be sent to the owner and prime contractor by the 15th day of the 2nd month following each month that work was performed and unpaid.

What is my job's monthly notice requirement?

For subcontractors on non-residential projects, notice is required to be sent by the 15th day of the 3rd month following each month work was performed and unpaid.

What is my job's monthly notice requirement?

For sub-subcontractors, notice is required to be sent on both the 15th day of the 2nd month, and the 15th day of the 3rd month following each month in which work was performed and unpaid.

What is my job's monthly notice requirement?

For suppliers on residential projects, notice is required to be sent to the owner and prime contractor by the 15th day of the 2nd month following each month that work was performed and unpaid.

What is my job's monthly notice requirement?

For suppliers on non-residential projects, notice is required to be sent both the 15th day of the 2nd month, and the 15th day of the 3rd month following each month in which work was performed and unpaid. (The 2nd month notice has to be sent only to the prime contractor.)

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Lien and Notice Deadlines in All 50 States
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