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Do I need to file a preliminary notice?

WashingtonLien DeadlinesMechanics LienPreliminary NoticeRight to Lien

Did some minor excavation work for an insurance company we've been working with the last year. The company seems to be falling apart from the inside and this project is going on 80+ days since completion. Company has been notorious for paying late (they claim net 30) but this particular job has me on edge. Was looking into lien options but haven't filed anything yet. Suggestions?

1 reply

Jul 29, 2019
Preliminary notice requirements can be confusing. And waiting and waiting for payment, while worrying whether payment will ever come, is definitely frustrating.

In Washington, the preliminary notice requirements depend on the project type, and the role of the construction participant providing the notice. Project participants who contract directly with the property owner or property owner's agent must provide a preliminary notice when the work:

1. 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
2. when the work to be done is on a commercial building and the bid price is between $1,000 – 60,000.

For project participants who do not contract directly with the property owner or property owner's agent, a notice must be provided within 60 days of first furnishing labor or materials (if the project is the new construction of a single family residence, the deadline is shortened to 10 days).

Note that the preliminary notices do not need to be "recorded" but needs to be delivered to the property owner.

If the required notice, if any, was provided, a claimant can go ahead with filing a mechanics lien claim. However, before filing the claim, it is sometimes worthwhile to send a Notice of Intent to Lien to provide the property owner and other interested parties the opportunity to pay the claim prior to the lien being filed. Note, though, that there is a deadline that must be met in filing a mechanics lien claim, as well. In Washington, a mechanics lien must be filed within 90 days of last furnishing labor or material to the project. If this deadline is missed, the ability to file a valid and enforceable lien expires.

Overall, it is important pay attention to the potential deadlines, and take any necessary actions before the deadlines get too close.
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