A notice of completion is a voluntary document filed by a property owner that signifies the end of a construction project. In Alaska, the filing of a notice of completion can affect certain deadlines for contractors, subs, and suppliers on a job. Notably, it significantly shortens the timeline to file a non-payment claim on that project.
Normally, Alaska’s mechanics lien laws give unpaid claimants 120 days to file a lien after completing the contract, or the last day of furnishing. However, if the property owner files a notice of completion, that 120-day window shrinks to just 15 days from the date the notice was filed. That is one of the most severe deadline changes among states that allow notices of completion.
If a notice of completion is filed, but you haven’t received payment for the work or materials you provided, you have just 15 days to file a mechanics lien in Alaska.
Aside from sharply reducing the lien deadline, a notice of completion doesn’t affect anything else. Once a contractor files a lien, they have the same 6 month period to enforce it. Additionally, a claimant can file a Notice of Extension to receive the additional 6-month period before needing to enforce it.
Preliminary notices provide extra protection
A notice of completion reduces the deadline for everyone who worked on a project — that is, everyone who didn’t take appropriate action to protect their lien rights.
Anyone who sends a notice of right to lien prior to the date the notice of completion is filed (or within 15 days after it is filed) has a special advantage. The property owner must notify these parties at least five (5) days prior to recording the completion notice, giving claimants additional time to prepare their claim. If the owner fails to give this advanced warning, the party’s original 120 day deadline is restored.
If a contractor, sub, or supplier records the notice of right to lien with the borough’s recording office, then their 120 day deadline is unaffected by a notice of completion. That is, as long as they file the notice before the 15-day window is closed.
As a result, it is in everyone’s best interest to send a preliminary notice to the property owner before starting work on a project.