Ohio Preliminary Notice Guide and FAQs

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Ohio Preliminary Notice FAQs

About Ohio Preliminary Notice

Ohio Preliminary Notice Rules
At a Glance


  • Private Jobs
  • Public Jobs
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Preliminary Notices Are Required on Most Projects

All parties who did not contract directly with the property owner (excluding laborers) must send a Notice of Furnishing on all projects other than residential projects of less than 3 units, provided a Notice of Commencement was filed. However, it is best practice to send notice on residential projects and projects on which the Notice of commencement wasn't filed or was otherwise deficient.


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GCs Are Not Required to Send Notice

GCs do not need to send preliminary notice in Ohio.


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DAYS
Subcontractors Must Send Notice

Notice of furnishing due within 21 days of first furnishing labor or materials - or 21 days from the filing of a notice of commencement, if the notice of commencement is filed late - on projects other than single or double residences.


21
DAYS
Suppliers Must Send Notice

Notice of furnishing due within 21 days of first furnishing labor or materials - or 21 days from the filing of a notice of commencement, if the notice of commencement is filed late - on projects other than single or double residences.


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Notice Can be Sent Late

If the notice of furnishing is sent after the general 21 day deadline, it is still effective to protect labor or material furnished beginning 21 days prior to the date on which the notice was sent.


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Send to Owner (or Designee) and GC

The notice of furnishing should be sent to the owner, or, if a designee was listed in the notice of commencement, to the owner's designee. If the party providing notice did not contract with the GC, notice should also be provided to the GC. Notice may be provided to the construction lender, if any, but that is purely at the discretion of the noticing party.

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Preliminary Notice Required

Ohio requires that project participants send a preliminary notice in order to make a claim against the payment bond secured for a public project, and to exert a lien on the contract funds.


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On public jobs, any claims for non-payment are made against the general contractor's bond or the project funds due the GC. Since GCs will not make a claim against their own bond or their own money for non-payment, they do not have bond claim or lien on fund rights, and have no preliminary notice requirement.


21
DAYS
Subs Must Send Notice

All claimants without a direct contract with the general contractor (excluding wage laborers), who will provide more than $30,000 of work or material must send a preliminary notice in order to preserve their bond claim rights.

All claimants without a direct contract with the general contractor (excluding wage laborers) must send a preliminary notice in order to preserve their rights to claim a lien on funds.


21
DAYS
Suppliers Must Send Notice

All claimants without a direct contract with the general contractor (excluding wage laborers), who will provide more than $30,000 of work or material must send a preliminary notice in order to preserve their bond claim rights.

All claimants without a direct contract with the general contractor (excluding wage laborers) must send a preliminary notice in order to preserve their rights to claim a lien on funds.


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Notice Can be Sent Late

If the preliminary notice is sent after the 21-day deadline, the notice only protects a claim for labor and/or materials furnished within the preceding 21 days and after the notice has been served.


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Send to the GC

Preliminary notice on Ohio public projects, whether pursuant to a future bond claim or lien on funds, is only required to be provided to the GC. For a bond claim notice, however, it may be nest practice to also supply the notice to the surety, if known.

Ohio is a state in which preliminary notice (also called Notice of Furnshing) requirements for sub-tier parties are specifically and directly tied to the actions of the parties higher up on the payment chain. Additionally, Ohio is one of the rare states that specifically limits the applicability of preliminary notices to projects other than residential projects. Ohio specifically does not require preliminary notices for projects on single or double family residences and condominiums, but, like always, it is generally advisable to give notice anyway.

Other than the residential projects mentioned above, Ohio is one of the few states that requires a Notice of Commencement to be filed. The Notice of Commencement must be filed by the owner or other party authorizing work on the property, and a copy must be posted in a conspicuous place at the job site. Further, a copy must be sent to the general contractor on the project. If the Notice of Commencement is not filed, if it is filed late, if the notice is deficient, or if a copy is requested but not given to a potential claimant, the time to file a lien may be extended and the otherwise required preliminary notice requirements may not apply.

If the Notice of Commencement is properly filed, as required, all project participants not directly in contact with the property owner (excluding wage laborers), must file a Notice of Furnishing. The notice must be sent via certified mail with return receipt requested within 21 days from the date the project participants first provided service or materials. If the property owner has not filed a Notice of Commencement, then preliminary notice is not specifically required, although it is still best practice to provide notice.

Ohio is interesting in that sending the Notice of Furnishing too soon renders it ineffective – even if the notice was received after labor or material was furnished. Unlike states like California, in which notice can never be sent too early and which specifically allow preliminary notice to be sent at any time, Ohio strictly requires that Notices of Furnishing must be sent after first furnishing labor or materials to the project.

The statute setting forth the Ohio’s Notice of Furnishing requirement (1311.05) states that a party required to give such notice: “shall serve a notice of furnishing . . . at any time after the recording of the notice of commencement or amended notice but within twenty-one days after performing the first labor or work or furnishing the first materials.”

The Ohio Twelfth Appellate District Court of Appeals interpreted this clause to specifically require that notice not be given until after the first furnishing of labor or materials. Since service is considered accomplished upon mailing, this means that the notice should not be put into the mail until the project participant supplying the notice has begun work.

Additionally, a property owner or other interested party may request a written notice of labor or materials provided. If requested, a project participant must provide this statement within 10 days in order to preserve lien rights.

Preliminary Notice Frequently Asked Questions

If you're working on Ohio projects, it's important to know the rules and requirements surrounding sending preliminary notices. And, it's important to get all the details right. If you're receiving prelims, it's important to know what you're looking at and know what to do in followup. Since prelims in Ohio are subject to a lot of complex rules and requirements, some of which are completely out of your own control, this can be difficult and tedious. These are some frequently asked questions (and their answers) about the Ohio preliminary notice process.

Prelim FAQs on Private Projects

Do I Need to Send a Ohio Preliminary Notice?

Generally yes.

All parties who did not contract directly with the property owner (excluding laborers) must send a Notice of Furnishing. If the property owner does not record a Notice of Commencement, or records a defective Notice of Commencement, a preliminary notice is not required – but it is still generally considered best practice to give notice anyway.

Ohio does not require preliminary notices for home purchase contracts, but it is generally advisable to give notice anyway.

Finally, for a deep dive on Ohio’s Notice of Furnishing requirements and how they interact with the Notice of Commencement requirements, this Q&A should be valuable: As a material supplier, is the Preliminary Notice to a General Contractor mandatory if they are not known yet?

When do I Need to Send a Ohio Preliminary Notice?

The Notice of Furnishing must be received or mailed by certified mail within 21 days from the claimant’s first furnishing of labor and/or materials when a Notice of Commencement has been properly filed with the county recorder. Early notice is ineffective, and if sent by certified mail, it must be sent after the first delivery of labor and/or materials.

If the Notice of Commencement was filed late, the preliminary notice must be given within 21 days from the date the Notice of Commencement was filed. A potential lien claimant is not required to give preliminary notice prior to the filing of the Notice of Commencement. If the Notice of Commencement is never filed, the preliminary notice is not necessary.

Finally, if the property owner, or any other party with an interest in the property or contractor requests it, the lien claimant must provide a written statement of the work and/or material provided and the amount unpaid within 10 days of the request. Failure to do so may extinguish lien rights.

What if I Send the Ohio Preliminary Notice Late?

If the preliminary notice is given late, not all is necessarily lost. In Ohio, late preliminary notice covers the 21 days before the date the notice is served, and it’s effective to protect work performed afterward.

How Should the Ohio Preliminary Notice be Sent?

The preliminary notice must either be personally served by the county sheriff (or by other means as provided by Ohio law) or by certified mail, registered mail, overnight delivery, or hand delivery, provided a written receipt is obtained.

Do I Have to Send the Ohio Preliminary Notice to Someone Other than the Owner?

The preliminary notice must be given to the owner’s (or part owner’s or lessee’s) designee as provided by the Notice of Commencement. If no designee is given, or the designee has died or otherwise ceased to exist, the notice must be provided to the owner, part owner, or lessee.

The preliminary notice must also be provided to the general contractor if the lien claimant is not in direct contract with the general contractor – subject to some exceptions.

Finally, the preliminary notice may be given to any construction or other lender – but this is purely at the discretion of the lien claimant.

Is the Ohio Preliminary Notice Requirement met when sent or delivered?

If sent by certified mail, the preliminary notice is considered complete on the date of mailing. If service on the owner is attempted at the address listed on the notice of commencement and the service is returned or refused, the service is considered complete on the first date of the first attempt.

However, be cautioned that when sending preliminary notice, while service may be considered complete on the date of mailing, the actual delivery of the mail piece is the burden of the sending party. This was discussed in Hanson Aggregates Davon, LLC v. J & H Reinforcing & Structural Erectors, Inc., 2014-Ohio-4832, ¶ 18 (Ct. App.), when the court stated that “[t]he statute clearly contemplates that mailing a document by certified mail will provide written evidence of receipt. Thus, we cannot conclude that requiring Appellant to provide written evidence of receipt is contrary to a plain reading of the statute, when actual receipt is disputed by Appellees.” See more at How To Send Notice to Owners – Standard Certified Mail, or Certified Mail with Return Receipt Requested?

Service by personal service is complete when actually served.

Prelim FAQs on Public Projects

Do I Need to Send a Ohio Preliminary Notice?

Generally yes.

Lien on Contract Funds: All claimants without a direct contract with the general contractor (excluding wage laborers) must send a preliminary notice in order to preserve their lien rights.

Bond Claim: All claimants without a direct contract with the general contractor (excluding wage laborers) must send a preliminary notice in order to preserve their lien rights, provided that the labor and/or materials furnished were more than $30,000. Note that no parties are required to send a preliminary notice on a highway construction project but it may be best practice to do so anyway if supplying more than $30,000 of labor and/or materials.

When do I Need to Send a Ohio Preliminary Notice?

Lien on Contact Funds: Notice to the general contractor should be given within 21 days after the claimant’s first furnishing of labor and/or materials to the project. If served by certified mail, the date of mailing must be within the 21-day period, not the date of actual receipt. If served personally, it must be actually served within the 21-day period. Notice to the Public Authority is not specified to occur by any particular date, but it is generally advisable to send the notice as soon as possible after delivering notice to the general contractor.

Bond Claim: Notice should be given within 21 days after the claimant’s first furnishing of labor and/or materials to the project. If served by certified mail, the date of mailing must be within the 21-day period, not the date of actual receipt. If served personally, it must be actually served within the 21-day period.

What if I Send the Ohio Preliminary Notice Late?

If the preliminary notice is sent after the 21-day deadline, the notice only protects a claim for labor and/or materials furnished within the preceding 21 days and after the notice has been served. If the notice is not given at all, the claimant’s rights to make a bond claim are extinguished.

How Should the Ohio Preliminary Notice be Sent?

Preliminary notice may be served via certified mail, or personal service. If served by certified mail, the notice is considered served on the date of mailing; if served by personal service the notice is considered served upon actual service.

To Whom Must the Ohio Preliminary Notice be Given?

Lien on Contract Funds: Preliminary notice must be given to the general contractor.

Bond Claim: The only party required by statute to receive preliminary notice on a bond claim in Ohio is the general contractor.

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Ohio Preliminary Notice Form Template

The Ohio preliminary notice of furnishing form is strictly regulated by statute. while there may be some wiggle room in what the form specifically looks like, exactly, the document must contain certain required information and must substantially follow the template set forth by Ohio statute. The forms provided here for free by Levelset are compliant with the Ohio rules. You can download them for free, or use our system to send or request them easily.

Ohio Notice of Furnishing Form - free from

Ohio Notice of Furnishing Form

If a Notice of Commencement is filed on a private construction project, Ohio requires that subcontractors and material suppliers send a Notice of Furnishing in...

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