About Massachusetts Preliminary Notices
A Notice of Identification needs to be provided by anyone who did not contract directly with the general contractor or property owner (i.e. a party who was contracted by a subcontractor) within 30 days of first providing labor and services on a project. Failure to give the notice limits the project participant to the amount due to the 1st tier subcontractor at the time the lien claimant files his notice of contract.
There are additional requirements for project participants in Massachusetts but whether the requirements are “notice” requirements, or a 1st step to the lien claim itself is up for debate. However, taxonomy debate notwithstanding, a notice of contract (or subcontract) must be filed by all parties who have a written contract with the owner, general contractor, or subcontractor. This notice must be filed in the Registry of Deeds and, if the lien claimant does not have a contract with the property owner, it must be provided to the property owner as well. This is a prerequisite to filing the “statement of account” which, depending on point of view is either the mechanics lien claim itself, or the second part of the filing that completes the document with the notice of (sub)contract.
A Notice of Contract (or subcontract) must be filed after the contract is executed, and no later than the earliest of 1) 60 days after filing of the Notice of Substantial Completion, 2) 90 days after the filing of the Notice of Termination, or 3) 90 days after last furnishing labor or materials to the project. However, like with notice requirements in other states, this deadline, while being the last possible date by which a valid notice may be sent (or filed) does not represent the best practice date for compliance with the requirement. Participants on Massachusetts jobs should consider filing the notice of (sub)contract as early as possible after the contract is signed, because any future lien claim lien may be limited to the amount due to the general or sub at the time the notice is received.