Are you a prime contractor? View the Prime Contractor’s Lien and Notice Deadline Chart.


Do I have to send a pre lien notice? Is my mechanics lien going to be invalid?

Sound familiar? The quest to find pre lien notice (or preliminary notice) requirements and deadlines leaves many scratching their heads.

To solve this problem, zlien began publishing free, easy-to-read lien law FAQs and charts for all 50 states some five years ago. (Since then, we’ve expanded to other areas of construction payment: lien waivers, prompt payment laws, and soon we’ll have information about retainage laws.) You can consult these charts to easily learn when you’re required to send a pre lien notice, when your deadline to file a lien is, and more.

A lot of our readers like to print this information. To help out, we created a simple PDF outlining pre lien notice and mechanics lien requirements for subcontractors, organized by state.

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Pre Lien Notice vs. Preliminary Notice

There is no unified vocabulary for the world of mechanics liens. This is because every state requires different documents. People often confuse lien waivers and lien releases, for example. But nothing is more mixed up than the language used to describe notices.

A Pre lien notice is any notice that is required to be sent before filing a mechanics lien in order for the lien to be valid. Pre lien is an umbrella term that includes two specific categories of notices:

    1. Preliminary Notice (or Notice to Owner): Typically sent at or near the time that you begin work (or first supply materials). Preliminary notices inform project leaders that you are working on the project, and many states require that you send this notice to protect your right to file a lien.
    2. Notice of Intent to Lien (NOI): Typically sent before filing a lien, as a warning that you will file the lien if you are not paid. Some states require sending an NOI before filing a lien (though more states require a preliminary notice).

What You’ll Learn from the Pre Lien and Notice Deadline Chart

The deadline chart explains four deadlines for each state:

  1. The deadline to send a preliminary notice
  2. The deadline to send a notice of intent to lien
  3. The deadline to file a mechanics lien
  4. The deadline to enforce a mechanics lien

Every state has a mechanics lien deadline and a deadline to enforce the lien. Most states also have a preliminary notice or notice of intent to lien deadline.

Download the Subcontractor’s lien and notice deadline chart to easily learn your deadlines and protect payment for your work.


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