About Nebraska Preliminary Notices
Nebraska law is a little bit confusing with respect to preliminary notice. Generally, Nebraska does not require any sort of preliminary notice to be given in order for a construction participant to retain future lien rights.
However, as with all other states and all construction projects, it is always a best practice to provide preliminary notice even when not specifically required, in order to promote project visibility, open channels for communication and collaboration, and streamline payment.
Nebraska protects certain property owners
Nebraska, in the past, made no distinction between residential and commercial property or property owners with respect to the availability and application of mechanics lien rights and protections. However, that was modified through the concept of a “protected party.”
According to Nebraska law currently, “[b]uyers and owners of residential real estate, who are likely to be unsophisticated about construction liens, are given special protection” under the mechanics lien statutes.
These protected parties are afforded additional protection in that liens agains their property may be limited to the lesser of “(a) [t]he amount unpaid under the claimant’s contract; or (b) [t]he amount unpaid under the prime contract through which the claimant claims at the time the contracting owner receives the claimant’s notice of lien liability.”
Nebraska defines a protected party as one who:
(1) contracts “to give a real estate interest security interest in, or to buy or to have improved, residential real estate all or part of which he or she occupies or intends to occupy as a residence;”
(2) is obligated on a contract to “buy or have improved residential real estate or on an obligation secured” by such property, if related to an individual “who occupies or intends to occupy all or part of the real estate as a residence”; or
(3) “acquires residential real estate and assumes or takes subject to the obligation of a prior protected party …. “
For the purposes of identifying a protected party, residential property must have no more than 4 dwelling units (or be condominium) and must have no non-residential uses for which the protected party is a lessor.
Protection under Nebraska’s Notice of Right to Assert Lien
It is important to note, however, that while a best practice in order to potentially secure a larger pool of protection for a subsequent lien, the preliminary notice of lien rights to a protected party is not required in order to later claim a lien.
Nebraska law specifically states that a contraction participant “may give notice of the right to assert a lien” but this notice is not specifically required in order to claim lien. It only affects the amounts for which later lien may be validly claimed.