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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>I am send our last invoice (retainage) to the General Contractor on a commercial project and have a invoice dating back to March 2018 which has not been paid, can I submit a preliminary notice with my retainage invoice for the amount of the retainage plus the amount of the March 2018 invoice?

I am send our last invoice (retainage) to the General Contractor on a commercial project and have a invoice dating back to March 2018 which has not been paid, can I submit a preliminary notice with my retainage invoice for the amount of the retainage plus the amount of the March 2018 invoice?

AlaskaLien DeadlinesMechanics LienRecovery Options

Currently have an open invoice send on March 2018 which has not been paid. That was our last invoice for labor. The project was completed on July and we are ready to invoice for retainage. I want to make sure we get paid for retainage plus the opened invoice. I am going to send the retainage invoice tomorrow and was wondering if I can start the lien process as well or if I have to wait.

1 reply

Aug 24, 2018
Great question! First, simply reminding your customer about an unpaid invoice might be a good first step, and communicating the issue could help to avoid escalation of the payment problem. Naturally, that process won't always work, but it's a good start and can help avoid unnecessary strain on relationships. Further, before diving into the weeds of the Alaska mechanics lien deadlines, it's first worth noting that a Notice of Intent to Lien can help claimants get paid without actually having to file a mechanics lien. A Notice of Intent to Lien is a lot like a warning shot - it provides the non-paying party a final chance to make payment before a mechanics lien will be filed. You can learn more about the document here: Notice Of Intent To Lien May Be Enough To Get You Paid. Now, let's look at the potential deadlines for an Alaska lien claim, because knowing when a lien claim would be due can help decide what other actions to pursue first. In Alaska, there are a few different potential lien deadlines. One of the main factors that will determine when the deadline to file is is whether a Notice of Completion is filed. If a Notice of Completion is filed, a claimant may need to file a lien in as few as 15 days after that Notice of Completion. However, if a claimant files a Noice of Right to Lien prior to a Notice of Commencement filing (or within 15 days of when a Notice of Commencement is filed), the claimant will have 120 days from their final furnishing to file a mechanics lien. If no Notice of Completion is filed, a claimant will have 120 days from their last furnishing to file a mechanics lien. So, if a claimant believes that a lien claim may eventually become necessary, a good first step may be to file a Notice of Right to Lien with the county recorder and to send a copy of that Notice to the non-paying customer. Doing so will make a non-paying customer take notice, plus it could push back the deadline to file a lien if a Notice of Completion is filed. As far as having to wait, a claimant may begin the lien process early, but it's worth noting that providing an opportunity for your customer to make payment before filing a lien claim is typically preferable - lien claims can freeze the progress of the project and negatively affect relationships. Of course, when push comes to shove, filing a lien claim to force payment may eventually become necessary. Thus, while it's usually a good idea to pursue options for payment before filing a lien, remember to keep an eye on the deadline - lien deadlines are strict and unforgiving.
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