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Can I use one preliminary notice for the same project that has more than one contract?

CaliforniaPreliminary Notice

We were hired by a general contractor to perform work on a commercial. The property owner had to let the general contractor go and asked for my company to finish the work. We did not send the general contractor a notice but when we started to work directly with the property owner a 20-day notice was sent. Can we use the 20-day notice sent to the property owner to cover the full scope of work?

1 reply

Apr 18, 2019
That's a great question. First, as you likely know, California construction businesses hired by someone other than the property owner must send a preliminary notice to preserve their ability to later file a mechanics lien. The notice must be sent within 20 days of first furnishing labor or materials. It can be sent late - but if it's sent later than 20 days from the first furnishing, a preliminary notice will only preserve the right to lien for work performed 20 days before the notice was sent, as well as the remaining work performed. However, for parties that were hired directly by the property owner, preliminary notice is only required if there's a lender on the project (and notice must go to that lender). Putting all of this together - if notice wasn't timely sent, as required, then some lien rights will be lost. This can be mitigated, to some degree, by sending late notice. For work that's performed directly for the owner, of no lender is present, preliminary notice isn't required - and sending an additional notice after being directly hired by the owner won't result in any additional preservation of lien rights. Keep in mind though - there are always options outside of a mechanics lien that can help secure the right to full payment, especially when everyone's willing to work together. We discuss those options here: Don’t Want to File a Mechanics Lien? Here Are 5 Other Options. For more background on California preliminary notices, this resource should help: California Notice & Lien Overview.
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