Preliminary notices are the building blocks to the mechanics lien process. Subcontractors and suppliers (and sometimes general contractors and design professionals) must send notice to protect their ability to file a lien. General contractors, property owners, and lenders rely on notices to paint a picture of who is working on their projects.
WHY send a Wisconsin preliminary notice?
Sending notice is essential to protecting your mechanics lien rights.
In Wisconsin, certain parties are required to send preliminary notice in order to maintain a valid lien claim. There is nothing that prohibits any party from sending preliminary notices, however, so to be safe a preliminary notice may be sent by all parties on all projects. Preliminary notices also support good working relationships, as they make sure that owners, lenders, and general contractors know who is working for them (this is especially beneficial on large projects).
WHO must send a Wisconsin preliminary notice? And to whom?
Prime contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers are required to send a Wisconsin preliminary notice in order to protect their right to file a lien depending on the project type. To view exceptions, click here. Any party planning to file a lien is required to send a Notice of Intent to File a Claim of Lien beforehand.
WHAT is included in a Wisconsin preliminary notice?
There are two different forms for Wisconsin preliminary notices: one for GCs and one for sub-tier parties. The forms require specific language and information, so save yourself some time and download the templates below!
Notice of Lien Rights by Prime Contractor
Subcontractor Identification Notice
WHEN do I send a Wisconsin preliminary notice?
Prime Contractors must either include notice in the contract or send preliminary notice within 10 days of beginning work. Preliminary notice from suppliers and subcontractors must be received within 60 days of first furnishing labor or materials, and at least 30 days prior to filing a lien.
Keep in mind:
- Best practice is to send preliminary notice as soon as you commence work.
- For GCs, failure to provide notice on time is fatal to a later lien claim UNLESS
- The GC pays all obligations to suppliers and subcontractors within 6 months of the time that the last performed services
- The time for subcontractors to provide any preliminary notices has passed and no lien claimant has given such notice (or all the subs and suppliers have waived lien rights)
HOW do I send a preliminary notice in Wisconsin?
If the GC’s preliminary notice is not contained within the actual contract, it must be sent by certified or registered mail, personal service, or other method in which the recipient gives written confirmation of delivery. Actual receipt of the notice is essential. Suppliers and subcontractors must serve two copies on the property owner by certified or registered mail, personal service, or other method in which the recipient gives written confirmation of delivery.