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Did I need to send an Intent to Lien before my actual lien?

WashingtonNotice of Intent to Lien

We sent 2 liens recently but never sent a notice or intent to lien first. Can we still send intents to lien? Does this negate everything we've done with the lien? How does this work, exactly? My attorney says that I should have submitted an Intent to Lien.

1 reply

Apr 25, 2019
That's a good question. First, it's worth noting that it's usually best practice to send some warning prior to filing a mechanics lien, regardless of whether it's required. By sending a document like notice of intent to lien beforehand, a lien claimant can put their customer and the property owner on notice that a lien claim will soon be made if payment isn't made. That creates an opportunity to obtain payment without actually having to go forward with a lien claim - saving everyone time, money, and headaches. But as for what's required - Washington is not a state where a notice of intent to lien must be sent, per statute, prior to filing a mechanics lien. So, failure to send a notice of intent to lien should have no effect on the validity of a filed lien. Now, whether one "should" have been sent anyway is an open question, but as mentioned above, a notice of intent to lien provides an opportunity to recover payment without the need for an actual lien filing, which is usually preferable. For more on that idea, this resource should be valuable: What is a Notice of Intent to Lien, and Should I Send one? Of course, keep in mind that Washington does require preliminary notice be sent in some situations - and you can find a breakdown of those rules here: Washington Lien & Notice Overview.
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