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Can I send a CA preliminary notice early?

CaliforniaPreliminary Notice

Sometimes I sign a contract 8 months to a year before starting work on the job site. I'm a GC in CA working on commercial jobs. Should I send a preliminary notice when I sign a contract or wait until I'm on site? Is there any difference, or are there any consequences, I should know of?

1 reply

Oct 15, 2018
That's a great question, and it's one we get fairly often. We discuss it a little more in depth in this article: Can You Send Preliminary Notice Early in California? But, the timelines that apply to the California preliminary notice are deadlines - they control the end time by which a notice must be sent.

The California Civil Code appears to be silent regarding the start time from which notice may be sent. Thus, the bottom line is that in California, sending notice early is acceptable, and in many cases, it's a good idea.

Note, though, that if notice is sent far in advance of the project, some of the immediate benefits of a preliminary notice other than preserving lien rights (such as notifying other parties that you're working on the job and opening up a line of communication to other stakeholders) might be diminished a little. As time passes, people tend to forget things - such as who sent them a prelim.

So, while that notice would be effective to preserve lien rights, sending notice a little later could have its benefits too. At the end of the day, though, the decision on how to weigh those factors is up to each sender - and the decision could even turn on the circumstances of individual jobs.
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