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Do first-tier subcontractors need to send Notices of Right to Claim Lien in Washington?

WashingtonPreliminary Notice

Reading through the state legislative site, it appears that parties who are in contract with the prime contractor do not need to send Notices of Right to Claim Lien. Do first tier subs really not have to send those notices on a job?

1 reply

Jun 20, 2019
That's a great question, and it's easy to get turned around when reading state statutes pertaining to notices and mechanics liens. First and foremost: On privately owned Washington construction projects, almost all parties who have not directly contracted with the property owner must send what's called a "Notice to Owner" - and that's the notice requirement created by the link mentioned in your question. However, if a party is hired by someone other than the owner, and that party will only provide labor to the project (meaning, they won't provide any equipment or materials in addition to their labor), they will not need to send Notice to Owner. Though, it's a good idea to send notice even when it's not required.

Based on RCW 60.04.031(1), the prime contractor may also be entitled to receive the notice set out by that section, in some situations. But, if a subcontractor has been directly hired by the prime contractor, that sub will not have to send the notice to their contractor in addition to the project owner. Still, notice must be made to the owner in order to preserve the right to lien.

So, to answer your question: Subcontractors who are hired directly by the project's prime contractor must send the Notice to Owner set out by RCW 60.04.031 in order to preserve their eventual right to lien, unless they're only providing labor. But, if that subcontractor was hired directly by the project's prime contractor, the sub won't have to send an additional notice to the prime contractor.

If you've got other questions regarding Washington's preliminary notice requirements, you can find great information here: Washington's Preliminary Notice Requirements for Public and Private Projects.
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