Arizona Preliminary Notice Rules at a Glance
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Preliminary Notices Are Required
Arizona law requires that a preliminary “20-day” notice be sent by every person who furnishes labor, professional services, or materials to a project as a mandatory prerequisite to filing a valid mechanics lien.
GCs Must Send Notice
Arizona 20-day Preliminary Notice must be delivered to owner and construction lender within 20 days of providing labor, services or materials.
Subcontractors Must Send Notice
Arizona 20-day Preliminary Notice must be delivered to owner, prime contractor, construction lender, and the party with whom you have contracted within 20 days of providing labor, services or materials. A person performing actual labor for wages is not required to serve notice.
Suppliers Must Send Notice
Arizona 20-day Preliminary Notice must be delivered to owner, prime contractor, construction lender, and the party with whom you have contracted within 20 days of providing labor, services or materials.
You Can Send Notices Late
Arizona allows late notices. The 20 day notice can be sent late and still be effective to preserve lien rights, but its effectiveness starts only 20 days before the notice was sent. In other words, lien rights are only preserved for work/materials provided in the preceding 20 days.
Send Notices to Owner, GC, Lender & Hiring Party
In Arizona, the 20 day preliminary notice must be sent to the general contractor, the property owner, the construction lender, and the party who hired the party giving notice (if not one of the parties otherwise required to receive the notice).
Preliminary Notices Are Required
Public jobs (i.e. city, state, municipal government) in Arizona require preliminary notices be sent at the start of the project.
No Notice Required from GCs
On public jobs, claims for non-payment are generally made against the general contractor's payment bond. Since GCs will not make a claim against their own bond for non-payment, they do not have bond claim rights, and have no preliminary notice requirement.
Subs Must Send Notice
1st-tier subcontractors do not have a technical preliminary notice requirement, and can proceed directly with making a bond claim, although it is best practice to provide notice. All other subcontractors must send preliminary 20-Day notices to the prime contractor. It's usually good practice to send to the public entity commissioning the work and the surety, if known. The notice must be sent within 20 days of first providing materials or labor.
Suppliers Must Send Notice
Suppliers must send preliminary 20-Day notices in Arizona to the, public entity prime contractor. It's usually good practice to send to the public entity commissioning the work and the surety, if known. The notice must be sent within 20 days of first providing materials or labor.
Notices Can Be Sent Late
Arizona allows late notices on public projects. If sent late, a prelim notice on a public job is effective for all the work or materials furnished by the contractor/supplier starting from 20 days before the notice was sent.
Send Notices To GC (Best Practice to Public Entity and Surety, as well)
Preliminary notices on public jobs in Arizona must be sent to the general/prime contractor, ARS 34-223(A). However, it is a good idea to also send the notice to the public entity and the surety, especially as some bonds require the surety to be informed.
In Arizona, nearly every party on a construction project must send a preliminary notice to the property owner, general contractor, and lender (if one exists). Arizona Revised Statute 33.992-01 requires every person who furnishes labor, professional services, or materials to send a preliminary notice in order to reserve the right to file a mechanics lien for non-payment.
Arizona statute calls this notice a Preliminary Twenty Day Lien Notice. However, it’s also often called a pre lien notice because it’s required before a claimant is allowed to file a mechanics lien in Arizona if they are not paid. Arizona’s notice requirement is strict: The only exception is that wage laborers (employees of construction participants) are not required to provide the 20-day notice.
Read our Ultimate Guide to Arizona’s 20 Day Preliminary Notice for step-by-step guidance on how to prepare and send your Arizona notice.
In Arizona, there is no exception for direct contractors. Even parties that contract directly with the property owner are required to deliver a preliminary 20-day notice to the property owner, as well as to the construction lender, if any. In fact, it appears that the statute technically requires a direct contractor to send a preliminary notice to themselves! Arizona’s direct contractor pre lien requirement is different than the law in many states, which treat preliminary notices as tools to identify sub-tier participants to the owner, as the owner would otherwise not know who may have potential rights against the property.
Additionally, while some states have exceptions to notice requirements provided the owner (or other applicable parties) had actual knowledge of a party’s involvement on the project, or had a deep enough connection to the project that they “should have” had actual knowledge, Arizona does not. In Arizona, the only notice that matters is formal notice.
Arizona’s preliminary notice requirements have both rare, and completely unique aspects. A relatively rare requirement for Arizona preliminary notices is that the notice must contain an estimated total contract amount. This is a specific statutory requirement, but some participants refuse to include that required information on their notices, as it could expose the GC’s mark-up to the property owner, and (presumably) cause friction in the relationship between the sub and the GC.
One other unique aspect to Arizona’s preliminary notice law is that the notice itself must contain an acknowledgment of receipt for the receiving party to sign and return, which proves compliance with the notice requirements.
Download a free Preliminary 20-Day Notice form that meets Arizona’s statutory requirements.
Arizona’s notice deadline
There’s a reason it’s called a “20-Day Notice.” In order to fully protect their lien rights, Arizona construction parties must provide notice within 20 days of the date they first furnish labor or material to the project.
Missing the deadline doesn’t necessarily mean giving up your Arizona lien rights entirely. An Arizona preliminary notice can be given at anytime, but if it is provided more than 20 days from first furnishing it only protects the amounts due for labor or materials furnished beginning 20 days prior to the date on which the notice was given.
If a contractor or supplier fails to provide an Arizona preliminary notice to the owner, prime contractor, and construction lender, they are not allowed to file a lien in Arizona.
Arizona requires revised notices if contract amount changes
If change orders or other alterations result in a contract price increase exceeding a certain threshold, Arizona requires parties to send a revised preliminary notice.
If the project began:
- On or after December 31, 2019: A revised Arizona notice must only be sent if the price exceeds 30% of what’s on the original notice.
- Before December 31, 2019: If the value of the labor or materials provided to the project is increased by more than 20%, the party must send an amended or revised notice. This requirement is set forth by ARS §33-992.01(G) and (H), and is a unique aspect of Arizona law.