Preliminary Twenty Day Notice: Arizona's Rules, Deadlines & Requirements
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:
Download a free Amended Preliminary Notice form