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Notices in Tennessee

TennesseePreliminary Notice

Ok I am reading the updates on TN Lien Laws and I read "For home improvement contracts, additional “notice” language must actually be built into the contract between the general contractor and the owner. There are no notice requirements on such projects for parties other than direct contractors." Exactly what language needs to be updated in our contract, or what needs to be added to make sure that we are following state lien laws. I have a bunch of questions, so there will be many more to come below..... Notice of Commencement Question: The statement "Residential (Notice of Completion NOT simultaneously recorded and served): Lien and response (if applicable) required within 90 days of actual completion of project.", is this referring to Filing a Notice of Commencement and Notice of Termination at the same time. If not what does this mean? The Statement "Residential (Notice of Completion Recorded and Served): Lien and response to Notice of Completion required within 10 days of date on which Notice of Completion filed." Does this mean that once a Notice of Completion is filed, we only have 10 days to file a lien? Also are we as the General (Prime)Contrator filing the Notice of Completion or is the owner. This Statement "Yes, notice is required in Tennessee. As well as recording the Notice of Lien and Sworn Statement with the Register of Deeds in the county in which the property is located, the lien must also be given to the property owner. This may be accomplished by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested." Who sends notice to Property Owner? Is this automatically done through Levelset if lien is filed through levelset. If we file the lien through the county registers office, do they send the lien notice to the HO, or do we need to send this information to the HO? I just want to make sure that we have procedures in place for and Apex is protected fully by these procedures. As collections manager it is my responsibility to make sure this happens and just want to make sure that I am correct in doing so...

20 replies

Aug 28, 2020

Home improvement contract notice requirements

The "notice language" referred to in our TN Preliminary Notice FAQs, is incredibly simple. There are certain requirements for home improvement contracts under Tenn. Code §62-6-508; such as contractor license number, contract price, etc. The notice is language is under subsection (3) which only requires that the following language be provided above the owner's signature line: NOTICE TO OWNER: Do not sign this contract if blank. You are entitled to a copy of the contract at the time you sign. Keep in mind that the separate TN Notice to Owner is required before commencing work and before executing the contract.

Notice of Completion & lien filing deadlines

The deadline to file a mechanics lien in Tennessee can get a bit complicated. The general rule is that the Notice of Lien should be filed within 90 days of completion of the project. A property owner can elect to file a Notice of Completion which will substantially shorten the window for filing. (note: the owner) When an owner files a Notice of Completion, they are required to simultaneously serve the prime/general contractor with a copy of the recorded notice. If this occurs, then the claim must be filed within 10 days of when the Notice of Completion was filed. If the owner doesn't file the notice, or files and fails to serve the notice, (i.e. NOT simultaneously recorded and served) then the notice will not affect your time to file your claim (90 days).

Recording a TN notice of lien

Once a Tennessee notice of lien is recorded, only "remote contractors" are required to send a copy of the notice to the property owner. Prime contractors are not required to send a copy of the recorded lien (see the special note below). However we always recommend sending a notice of the lien recording. That way the owner is fully aware and can respond accordingly. When using Levelset, notices will be sent automatically when filing your claim. If a lien claimant files on their own, the county recorder's office will not send the notice for them. That responsibility lies with the claimant.

*Special note regarding prime contractor liens in Tennessee

General contractors in Tennessee don't technically need to file a lien to enforce their lien rights. An enforcement lawsuit can simply be filed within 1 year from the last date of furnishing labor or materials to the project. However, filing a lien is the best way to ensure your rights, as it make the rights enforceable against any subsequent purchasers of the property. Hope this helps!
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