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Can I file a valid lien in Washington?

WashingtonLien DeadlinesMechanics LienPreliminary Notice

I was hired by a property mngt company that I have worked for for over three years, we have an ongoing contract for services that names me as an authorized vendor. I started the job 8-14-17, emailed a notice to owner 11-20-17 and completed the job 10-6-17, sent a notice of intent 11-28-17. The property mngt company is claiming they are agent for owner, I have not had any contact with property owner, mngt company will not provide contact information for owner.

1 reply

Nov 30, 2017
The first thing to consider are preliminary notice requirements. In Washington a prime contractor must provide the owner with a "model disclosure statement" when your work involves the repairing, altering or building of 4 or fewer residential units on residential property and the bid price is $1,000 or more, or when the work to be done is on a commercial building and the bid price is between $1,000 – $60,000. If this notice wasn't provided or included in your contract and you qualify as a prime contractor, you lose the right to file a valid lien (and be subject to other potential penalties).

A "prime contractor" is defined in WA as: "all contractors, general contractors, and specialty contractors, as defined by chapter 18.27 or 19.28 RCW, or who are otherwise required to be registered or licensed by law, who contract directly with a property owner or their common law agent to assume primary responsibility for the creation of an improvement to real property. . ."

A contractor without a direct contract with the property owner must send a Notice to Owner that works to protect the labor or materials furnished beginning 60 days prior to the date the notice was delivered.

If you are a prime contractor, your ability to file a valid lien likely hinges on whether the disclosure statement was provided to the owner.

If you are not a prime contractor, a lien could be filed until January 4th, but only for the amount of the materials or labor furnished between September 21 and the completion of the job on October 6 (provided the notice to owner was delivered appropriately and obtained the correct information).

It is likely that the property management company is likely the agent of the owner, such that contracting with the property management company would result in such contractor being a "prime contractor" under WA law. It may be worth checking your contract or pre-contract documents for the disclosure statement language, and talking with a local attorney.
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