Sending a New Hampshire 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 New Hampshire.
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Notice of intent to lien
New Hampshire preliminary notice requirements for:
Preliminary Notice is not required for those contracted directly by the property owner.
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.
Subcontractors and suppliers must send notice.
Send notice before work starts
Notice can be sent late
Send to property owner (and mortgagee of construction mortgage, if any)
Notice of lien rights served on owner prior to providing labor or materials. Delivery of written account of labor and/or material furnished every 30 days (for the previous 30 days).
However, it is generally best practice to provide preliminary notice, anyway, in order to promote visibility, open channels for communication, and streamline payment.
Sending preliminary notices in New Hampshire can be tricky. There are multiple notices that may be required, and certain notices must be sent multiple times. Accordingly, if you're sending preliminary notices in New Hampshire, it's important to get all the details right. And, if you're receiving prelims, it's important to know what you're looking at and know what to do in followup. Since prelims are subject to a lot of complex rules and requirements, this can all be difficult. Here are some frequently asked questions (and their answers) about the New Hampshire preliminary notice process.
When do I Need to Send a New Hampshire Preliminary Notice?
New Hampshire mechanics lien statutes require that a preliminary notice (notice of intent to lien) be given prior to the delivery of labor and/or materials to the project. Also, a written account of the labor and/or materials furnished in the preceding 30 days is required to be given every 30 days after the original preliminary notice is given. However, practically speaking, the time period in which the preliminary notice may be given is probably longer. A preliminary notice may be given at any time prior to the lien claim itself, but the lien will only be effective against the amounts owed by the property owner to the general contractor at the time the preliminary notice is served on the owner – therefore, the sooner the preliminary notice is served, the more likely the lien will be effective. Also, there has been some disagreement in the courts as to the specific timing and necessity of the written statements of account to be given after the preliminary notice.
What if I Send the New Hampshire Preliminary Notice Late?
If the preliminary notice is not given prior to furnishing labor and/or materials, it can be given later, as long as it is given prior to the lien itself. However, a lien is only effective against the amounts owed by the property owner to the general contractor at the time the preliminary notice is served on the owner, so a lien may potentially be rendered ineffective if the preliminary notice is sent late. Failure to give the statement of account required to be given subsequently to or concurrently with the preliminary notice is complicated. Courts disagree, but it may render part of the lien claim (corresponding to the missed statement) invalid.
How Should the New Hampshire Preliminary Notice be Sent?
New Hampshire statutes do not state how the service of the preliminary notice on the owner should be accomplished, merely that a notice should be “furnished” to the property owner. Sending the notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, may be advisable.
Do I Need to Send a New Hampshire Preliminary Notice?
Preliminary notice is not specifically required for either a lien on the funds due from the public entity or a claim on the contractor’s bond. However, any party may give preliminary notice, and, at least prior to claiming a lien on the contract funds it may be best practice to provide a preliminary notice similar to the preliminary notice required for a private mechanic’s lien.
Notices of Commencement aren't really a thing in Wisconsin - the Wisconsin mechanics lien statute doesn't provide for a Notice of Commencement filing. With that being said, there are some other elements of Wisconsin's mechanics lien laws that might be helpful for an owner to know going into their project.
What an owner should expect on a Wisconsin construction project
There are a number of different topics that an owner should be at least a little familiar with when heading into a project on their property. Of course, even if you are wholly unfamiliar with the topics below, it's possible to pull of a construction project without a hitch. But, since you asked, here are some topics that come to mind. Obviously, this isn't an exhaustive list - but understanding these topics will help to avoid common problems that arise on construction projects.
One of the easiest issues to pop up on a construction job is to use informal or sloppy change order processes. Requiring that all change orders be in writing and signed will help make sure that you're aware of all changes on the project, and it will avoid disputes over whether extras were approved and what should be paid for those extras.
First, know that mechanics lien rights will be available to just about everyone who works on the project - the GC, their subcontractors, suppliers, etc. But, those parties will only be able to file lien claims against your property if they aren't paid for their work. So, instituting a strict lien waiver collection policy can help you make sure everyone gets paid and no liens are filed on the project. Generally, it's a good idea to think of lien waivers as a receipt for payment - any time someone gets paid, they should provide that receipt (waiver). More waiver discussion here: (1) How To Handle Requesting & Tracking Lien Waivers; and (2) The Property Owner’s Guide to Lien Waivers. If a lien does get filed for some reason, this guide will help: A Mechanics Lien Was Filed on My Property – What Do I Do Now?
Get ready to receive preliminary notices
Additionally, it will be helpful to understand the notices you'll be receiving throughout the project. First, the GC will need to provide you with a specific lien notice directly in the contract or shortly after they begin work. Further, the subcontractors and suppliers on your job will also be sending preliminary notices letting you know they're working on the project and that, if worse comes to worst, they'll be able to file a mechanics lien. But, these notices are all simply informational and are intended to build a healthy, transparent, and collaborative project. Plus, if there is an issue later on, you'll have everyone's contact info to help nip that in the bud. You can learn all about those notices here: (1) Why Preliminary Notices Are Great For Property Owners & GCs; and (2) Wisconsin Preliminary Notice Guide and FAQs.
If a Notice of Intent to Lien is received, resolve the dispute
There is a more troubling notice Wisconsin claimants may send, though. If the GC, subcontractor, supplier, etc. isn't getting paid what they're owed, they may send a Notice of Intent to Lien. Essentially, this document is a lien warning - it provides the owner and other recipients notice that there's a payment issue, and it gives those recipients a chance to solve the issue before a lien gets filed. A Notice of Intent to Lien must be sent at least 30 days before a lien can be filed - so, that provides about a month to negotiate and settle payment claims before having to deal with a lien. You can learn more on WI's Notice of Intent rules here: Wisconsin Notice of Intent FAQs & Guide. And, if you do receive one of these notices, this guide will help: I Just Received a Notice of Intent to Lien – What Should I Do Now?
In Wisconsin is a Preliminary Notice required on a commercial project?
In Wisconsin, for a subcontractor to secure their mechanics lien rights a preliminary notice (known as a Subcontractor Identification Notice Form) should be sent within 60 days of first furnishing labor or materials to the project. This notice can still be sent after the 60 day period, but it will only cover labor and materials provided after the owner received the notice.
In addition to the interesting scheme of the single + recurring preliminary notice scheme, the deadlines for New Hampshire preliminary notices are also not entirely clear.
There is no specific mandatory deadline for sending the single preliminary notice. New Hampshire statutes state that the party giving notice should “give notice in writing to the owner or to the person having charge of the property that he or she shall claim such lien before performing the labor or furnishing the material for which it is claimed” [emphasis added]. However, in the very next statutory section, it is made expressly allowable that “Such notice may be given after the labor is performed, the professional design services are provided, or the material is furnished.” If the notice is given after furnishing, however, it appears that a subsequent lien is only be allowed to the extent and amount there is money due or to become due to the party who hired the claimant. Note, however, that this provision is unclearly worded, and the lien may be limited to the amount due to the GC only, when the notice is provided.
The requirement for the recurring preliminary notice is just as complex and confusingly worded. New Hampshire requires that all parties who were required to give the original preliminary notice, also provide an account of the labor or material provided “as often as once in 30 days.” This has generally been taken to mean that the noticing party should provide the owner with a monthly statement of the labor or materials performed in the prior month, to obligate the owner to retain funds sufficient to pay for that work. This is not too confusing, but the previous notice section specifically notes that this accounting “may also be given at the time [the original notice] is given.” That’s kind of a mess.
To be best protected, however, it appears that a party in New Hampshire who did not contract with the property owner should send a notice 1) prior to furnishing labor or materials (or as soon thereafter as possible); and 2) provide an additional notice each month thereafter describing the work performed in the previous month.
How to send preliminary notice in New Hampshire (DIY)
Read the step-by-step guide for preliminary notices in New Hampshire. The guide will walk you through how to prepare and serve your preliminary notice in New Hampshire, including the required information, deadlines, and rules for delivery.
New Hampshire construction law is strict about the language and information that you must include on a preliminary notice. Our forms are written by construction attorneys to meet New Hampshire’s requirements, making it easy for you to get this part right.
Make sure you fill the form out carefully. That’s because making a mistake while preparing your preliminary notice could cause you to lose your right to file a New Hampshire mechanics lien down the line. Include all required information, and make sure it’s 100% accurate.
Deliver the notice
You need to deliver your preliminary notice before you furnish and materials or labor on the project. Deliver the notice to the property owner and mortgagee of construction mortgage (if any). Either deliver the notice personally, or send it via certified mail, return receipt requested.
How to send a Preliminary Notice with Levelset
Select Preliminary Notice document.
Provide basic job information.
Levelset sends the document for you. Postage included!