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what is the difference between a preliminary notice and a notice of intent?

TexasMonthly NoticePreliminary NoticeRight to Lien

I am not sure which notice is the correct one to use to secure payment.

1 reply

May 8, 2019
That's a great question, and I completely understand - terminology can get tricky, especially in Texas. Let's talk about 3 types of notices: preliminary notices, monthly notices, and notices of intent to lien. I'll also post some links I think will be helpful for further research. Preliminary notices refer to notices that are sent at the start of the job in order to (1) provide information and communicate with other project stakeholders, and often (2) to preserve some right. In Texas, retainage notices and/or specially fabricated material notices both fall under this category, to some degree, because they're sent early in a job's lifecycle in order to later preserve the right to lien specially fabricated materials and/or retainage. Monthly notices are pretty unique to Texas. These notices must be sent on a recurring basis, and the time for sending this notice will vary depending on the business's role on the project and the project type. A failure to send monthly notices in Texas is an extremely common way for construction businesses to lose their lien rights. By sending monthly notices, as required, lien claimants can preserve their right to later file a mechanics lien for amounts that are owed and unpaid. In Texas, these notices act as a sort of middle man between preliminary notices and notices of intent to lien - monthly notices indicate that some payment hasn't been made, and they indicate that a lien may be filed for those amounts if payment isn't made. More on those notices here: Texas Monthly Notices. Finally, a Notice of Intent to Lien, at least in Texas, acts like a warning shot. It's typically the last resort before actually filing a mechanics lien. By sending a Notice of Intent to Lien, the party sending the notice makes it clear that if payment doesn't come, a lien will be filed. But, this isn't a required notice in Texas, so it won't actually preserve any rights. Still, it's a powerful payment recovery tool. More on this notice here: What is a Notice of Intent to Lien? For more information about the lien filing process as a whole, and for more information about exactly when monthly notices must be sent, this resource should be valuable: Texas Notice and Lien Overview. I hope that was helpful! Feel free to come back with any other questions you might have.
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