Sending an Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma.
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Oklahoma preliminary notice requirements for:
GCs are not required to submit a preliminary notice on private projects.
However, submitting a preliminary notice no matter what the state requirements are is a great way to speed up payment.
General contractors are not required to send a preliminary notice on public projects.
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 usually need to send a notice to owner or a pre-lien notice on private projects.
Notice must be sent within 75 days
Notice cannot be sent late
Notice must be sent to owner and GC
If the claim is for $10,000 or more or the project is owner-occupied, subs and suppliers must send a preliminary notice.
Subs and suppliers aren't required to send preliminary notice on public projects.
However, sending preliminary notice even when not required is generally beneficial to promote visibility, open channels for communication, and streamline payment.
If you're sending preliminary notices in Oklahoma, it's important to get all the details right. Oklahoma has specific rules and requirements that determine whether a notice is required, and it's important to make the right determination. 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 Oklahoma are subject to a lot of complex rules and requirements, this can all be difficult. Here are some frequently asked questions (and answers) about the Oklahoma preliminary notice process.
All parties who did not contract directly with the property owner are required to send a preliminary notice if one of the two following circumstances applies:
1) the property includes an owner occupied dwelling; or
2) the claimant’s aggregate claim is greater than $10,000 on a non-residential project. Oklahoma defines a residential project (distinct from an owner-occupied residential project) as a single or multi-family residence of four or fewer units, none of which are occupied. No preliminary notice is required for such a residential project.
If one of these two circumstances applies, the lien claimant is required to give preliminary notice to the general contractor and the property owner.
It is unclear if the general contractor is required to give the property owner preliminary notice on an owner-occupied project, but it may be worthwhile to give the notice out of an abundance of caution.
When do I Need to Send a Oklahoma Preliminary Notice?
Preliminary notice, when required, must be given prior to filing the lien statement, and no more than 75 days after the last date on which the lien claimant furnished labor and/or materials to the project. Only one notice is required per project, even if the lien claimant continues to provide labor and/or materials after the notice has been given.
What if I Send the Oklahoma Preliminary Notice Late?
Failure to give preliminary notice within the 75-day period, when notice is required, is fatal to a mechanics lien claim in Oklahoma. Further, when a lien claimant files a statement of lien with the county clerk, he must also provide an affidavit certifying that he complied with the preliminary notice requirements. Falsification of the affidavit is a misdemeanor, and the lien claimant may be fined up to $5000 and/or imprisoned for 30 days.
How Should the Oklahoma Preliminary Notice be Sent?
Oklahoma only requires that the preliminary notice be “sent” to the general contractor and the property owner. However, it is generally advisable to send the notice via certified mail. The lien claimant should also keep a copy of the notice and affidavit of delivery for attachment to the lien statement.
No. Oklahoma does not require preliminary notice to preserve rights to make a bond claim, if the claimant is otherwise entitled to that protection. Any party, however, may send notice if they so desire.
To Whom Must the Oklahoma Preliminary Notice be Given?
People are asking Oklahoma construction attorneys:
Can a shady contractor file a mechanics lien on my house because I fired him?
In my experience as a Contractor in the State of Michigan for 30+ years, a lien is only valid when the contractor meets the following (3) requirements:
1. The contractor is legally licensed (both can usually be verified online):
A.) to perform trade services in your state of residence
> If he is conducting business as a Sole Proprietor (his, he should be registered at the County level under an Assumed Name/DBA.
> If he is conducting business under a business entity name, then the business entity should be licensed at the State level to recognize his company as a legal entity). AND/OR
B.) licensed by your state as a Residential Builder. If he's performing "remodeling" services and licensed as a Maintenance & Alteration Contractor, then he is working outside the parameters of his license, thereby the lien is not valid.
2. The contractor obtained a signed, written agreement/contract clearly documenting all three of the following:
A.) Offer to perform a service (ie...remodeling your laundry room & bath)
B.) Consideration (ie...how much he is charging you) AND
C.) Acceptance (ie...your signature approving his offer & consideration)
If you didn't sign the contractor's Bid form (ie...Offer & Consideration) then you didn't enter into a legally binding agreement/contract. However, you gave him money (ie...consideration) for material, draws for labor & equipment and you allowed him to enter your home to start the project, which may legally imply a verbal acceptance. Also, in today's world of technology, if you communicated your acceptance via email, voice/text message, they too are all legally binding forms of communication. If no such communication exists to establish a legal written agreement/contract to validate the lien, the Judge will dismiss the lien if/when the contractor files a lawsuit to foreclose on your property. Now, if the Judge validates the contractor's lien to move forward with the foreclosure lawsuit, the only defense you could argue is that the contractor breached your timeline agreement, but only if you have it in writing and both you and the contractor signed it. The typical rule of law to follow is, "if it's not documented, it didn't happen". Verbal agreements are legally binding but very difficult to prove which is why a written agreement/contract is typically required to validate a Contractor's Claim of Lien. With regard to the contractor providing a Preliminary Notice prior to starting your project...In Michigan we call this form a "Notice of Furnishing". A subcontractor must provide this notice to the homeowner prior to starting their project so the homeowner can complete the information and return it to the subcontractor. The subcontractor must then post the Notice of Furnishing on the job during the project. This notifies you, the homeowner, of subcontractors working on your project in case the general contractor fails to pay them. If you signed a written agreement/contract directly with the contractor performing the remodel service (ie...general contractor), then he does not need to provide a Notice of Furnishing to you prior to starting the project as you are already aware that he will be working on your job and will expect to be paid in return for his service provide. In other words, the Notice of Furnishing can not be used in your defense if a Judge validates the contractor's Claim of Lien.
We've had to file a handful of liens in my business and to ensure the lien is valid, you have to have all your ducks in a row to ensure the lien process was PROPERLY AND LEGALLY filed. If your contractor failed to present a service contract or any other legal agreement for you to review and approve with your signature before he began the project, it doesn't sound like he's too concerned about legalities and will probably be deemed invalid and he'll be ordered to dissolve the lien from your property. But just to be on the safe side, if you haven't already done so, document every communication you've had with the contractor to establish a "communication log" in case you need to defend your actions to terminate your agreement/contract. I hope this helps guide you down the path you need to follow to protect yourself. Please don't interpret this information as legal advise as I am not a lawyer, only an experienced General Contractor/Builder. Should you have any questions or need clarification on my information, please feel free to email me. Best of luck in resolving this matter.
Oklahoma has a fairly traditional preliminary notice scheme, with a few wrinkles. While preliminary notice is generally required in Oklahoma for parties there than those who contract directly with the property owner, there are some situations in which the requirement may not be obvious.
1) the property includes an owner occupied dwelling; or 2) the project is non-residential and the claimant’s aggregate claim is greater than $10,000
If one of these two circumstances applies, the participant is required to give preliminary notice to the general contractor and the property owner. It is not specifically clear if general contractors or others contracting directly with the property owner are required to give the property owner preliminary notice on an owner-occupied project. But, as with other projects, providing preliminary notice is a good idea even when not required, so it may be worthwhile for direct contractors to give notice when working on or supplying materials an owner-occupied residence out of an abundance of caution.
The specificity of the rules above means that there is a peculiar aspect of Oklahoma’s preliminary notice requirement that residential projects that are not “owner-occupied” do not require preliminary notice – even if the claim amount exceeds the $10,000 floor that otherwise applies to commercial projects.
Oklahoma defines a residential project (distinct from an owner-occupied residential project), and accordingly, a project to which the preliminary notice requirements do not apply, as a single or multi-family residence of four or fewer units, none of which are occupied by an owner. It is unclear from the statute, however, whether “occupied” means that the property is the full-time residence (or domicile) of the owner, or just that it is the owner who uses the property, such that second, or other vacation homes would count. However, given that courts have decided that an owner who resided in a residence when it was damaged and only left temporarily so that it could be repaired, is considered to be occupying the property and deserving of notice, it seems like a party must be “residing in” a residence for it to count as owner-occupied. Mel Stevenson & Associates, Inc. v. Giles, 103 P.3d 631 (Okla.Civ.App. Div. 2) (2004)
There is one other very intriguing aspect of Oklahoma’s preliminary notice requirements, however, that does not really have much of an analogue in other states. If the project participant gives the general contractor a written request, delivered by certified mail, return receipt requested (or any other way sufficient for delivery of preliminary notice), asking for the name and last known address of the property owner, the contractor must respond with that information within 5 days of receiving the request. If the contractor fails to respond, the project participant making the request is not required to provide the owner a preliminary notice.
Before you get started, it’s a good idea to read the guide to preliminary notices in Oklahoma. The guide walks you through the entire form, including which information you need to include, the deadlines for submitting a notice, and the rules for proper service of the notice.
Oklahoma is home to two different kinds of preliminary notices: Notices to owner and pre-lien notices. You must send an Oklahoma NTO on owner-occupied residential projects, and pre-lien notices must be sent before you file a mechanics lien for a claim of $10,000 or more.
Oklahoma lien law outlines specific guidelines for the language and information that must be used and included in a preliminary notice. Download the blank preliminary notice form for Oklahoma here. Levelset’s forms were written by construction attorneys to meet Oklahoma’s requirements, making this part easy for you to get right.
Fill the form out
Be careful! Accuracy is important.
Take extra care when filling out your Oklahoma preliminary notice. That’s because making a mistake when preparing the form could prevent you from filing a mechanics lien down the line if you go unpaid.
Include all the required information, and ensure the information you include is 100% correct and accurate.
Deliver your notice
The last step is to deliver your notice. Oklahoma is pretty lax when it comes to delivery rules, and your notice should be sent to the property owner or GC by personal service, certified mail return receipt requested, or even via email.
How to send a Preliminary Notice with Levelset
Select Preliminary Notice document.
Provide basic job information.
Levelset sends the document for you. Postage included!