Sending a Maryland preliminary notice is an effective way to speed up payment on a construction project. A preliminary notice is an informational document typically sent to the property owner near the beginning of a construction project. Here's what you need to know about the rules and requirements for sending preliminary notice in Maryland.
If you're sending preliminary notices in Maryland, it's important to understand the rules and requirements in order to make sure your notice is sufficient and compliant. Since prelims are subject to a lot of complex rules and requirements, this can all be difficult. And, Maryland is tough on notice. These are some frequently asked questions about the notice process in Maryland.
Who needs to send a Maryland preliminary notice on private projects?
Maryland does not require a preliminary notice to be sent at the outset of a construction project to secure lien rights. However, any party may send a preliminary notice to promote project visibility, open channels for communication, and attempt to facilitate payment.
When do I need to send a Maryland preliminary notice?
Since preliminary notices aren’t required, there is no specific timeline to send notice. However, if you do decide to send a preliminary notice there earlier the better. Increasing visibility and communication at the outset of the project can help speed up payments.
Who do I need to send a Maryland preliminary notice to?
Preliminary notices are traditionally sent to the property owner. However, if you decide to send a preliminary notice, it’s best practice to send a copy to everyone up the payment chain; such as your hiring party and the prime/general contractor as well.
Who needs to send a Maryland preliminary notice on public projects?
Maryland does not require any preliminary notice to preserve a claimant’s right to make a claim against a payment bond on public projects. However, it’s a good idea to request a copy of the payment bond to verify the existence of the bond and ensure there aren’t any other notice requirements.
If you are contemplating filing a petition to establish a lien on real property in Maryland, that would involve hiring an attorney and filing the petition in the Circuit Court in the County where the real property is located. See Levelset Article at https://www.levelset.com/mechanics-lien/maryland-lien-law-faqs/
Previous homeowner had work done on roof in September. We closed October 19th. How are responsible for this?
Maryland law gives a party who improves real estate the right to file a mechanic's lien against the property to collect payment. The title search in connection with the sale would not have caught if closing occurred prior to the lien filing. However, to establish a lien in Maryland the roof contractor would need to file a petition to establish a lien and then there is an evidentiary hearing for the court to determine if the contractor has a factual and legal basi to move forward with the action (the court allowing the lien to be established doesn't mean the contractor wins, only that the contractor can proceed with the suit to enforce the lien, which moves through the court system the same way a breach of contract would move through the system). I would check the documents executed between seller and buyer to see if any representations or warranties exist upon Seller to defend, protect, and hold you harmless from claims arising out of pre-closing actions of the Seller. At the very least, I would send the Seller a demand letter directing that this matter be resolved immediately. See also Levelset article at https://www.levelset.com/blog/what-if-your-mechanics-lien-is-filed-after-the-owner-sells-the-property/
To enforce a mechanic's lien in PA, the claimant must eventually obtain a judgment upon the lien filed. This is done by filing a complaint to enforce, similar to a lawsuit seeking judgment on a contract. The action is commenced by filing a complaint with the prothonotary (clerk of the court). The procedure to obtain a judgment on a claim is essentially the same as the procedure for any civil court action. The complaint must identify:
The name and address of each party to the action. If the action is commenced by a subcontractor, the complaint must include the name and the address of the contractor.
The court, term and number.
The date of filing the claim. A copy of the lien must be included as an exhibit.
A demand for judgment.
The lien must be enforced by filing a complaint within two years of the date the lien was filed, unless the time is extended by the owner in writing. A judgment must be entered within five years from the date the original lienm is filed or it will be entirely lost.
In Maryland, like in many states, preliminary notices are not required for general contractors or other parties with a direct contractual relationship with the property owner. Maryland does, however, require preliminary notice from subcontractors, suppliers, and others who did not directly contract with the property owner. This notice is kind of more similar to a notice of intent than a traditional preliminary notice since it must be sent within 120 days from the date that the project participant last provided labor or supplies, and can sometimes be called a “notice of lien” despite not being an actual lien itself.
For single-family residential properties, there are some special deadline requirements. The notice must not only be sent within 120 days from the last day, the participant last provided labor or supplies but additionally prior to the property owner, making full payment to the general contractor.
It’s further important to note that liens filed on owner-occupied single-resident properties are also limited to a specific worth dependent on the contract (between the property owner and the general contractor) amount due at the time the property owners received preliminary notice. While there are many reasons that it is best to send preliminary notices early in the project, since the ultimate goal is to provide visibility into project participants, it is worth additional attention when the amount available to be secured by a lien claim depends on the amount left to be paid when notice is received. This means that while Maryland can be an unpaid balance lien state, there is a mechanism in place for subcontractors and suppliers to ensure that is not the case and to be fully protected.
First and foremost, read the guide to preliminary notices in Maryland. It breaks down all you need to know about the notice, including who must submit one, when they should submit one, and who the notice must be submitted to.
This part can get tricky because you must take care when filling your preliminary notice out. That’s because under Maryland law, mistakes on your preliminary notice could void your right to file a mechanics lien if you need to. Check your form multiple times to make sure everything is completely accurate.
Deliver the notice
Lastly, deliver your Maryland preliminary notice. Make sure you send it within the 120 day deadline, and send it to the owner via personal service or certified mail, return receipt requested.
If the owner cannot be located and served, you can post the notice on the job site in a conspicuous place as a last resort. Take a picture as proof it was properly posted.
How to send a Preliminary Notice with Levelset
Select Preliminary Notice document.
Provide basic job information.
Levelset sends the document for you. Postage included!