Virginia Preliminary Notice Guide and FAQs

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Virginia Preliminary Notice FAQs

About Virginia Preliminary Notice

Virginia Preliminary Notice Rules
At a Glance


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Preliminary Notices Are Sometimes Required

Where residential projects are concerned, a property owner might appoint a “mechanics lien agent” to handle contractor legalities. If this is the case, a project participant must provide preliminary notice to the mechanics lien agent within 30 days of last providing service or labor for a project or 30 days from the date that the building permit was issued. Additionally project participants who wish to make the owner or GC personally liable must provide both a preliminary and a post-work Sec. 43-11 notice.


30
DAYS
GCs Must Send Notice

On residential projects, when Mechanic Lien Agent identified in building permit, 30 day preliminary notice required. Additionally project participants who wish to make the owner or GC personally liable must provide both a preliminary and a post-work Sec. 43-11 notice.


30
DAYS
Subcontractors Must Send Notice on Residential Projects

On residential projects, when Mechanic Lien Agent identified in building permit, 30 day preliminary notice required. Additionally project participants who wish to make the owner or GC personally liable must provide both a preliminary and a post-work Sec. 43-11 notice.


30
DAYS
Suppliers Must Send Notice on Residential Projects

On residential projects, when Mechanic Lien Agent identified in building permit, 30 day preliminary notice required. Additionally project participants who wish to make the owner or GC personally liable must provide both a preliminary and a post-work Sec. 43-11 notice.


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Notice Can Generally be Sent Late

Residential Projects: If the notice is not filed timely it is not necessarily fatal to the potential lien claim, but it is only effective as to labor and/or materials furnished after the notice is served.

To make owner or GC personally liable it is unclear whether a late notice is sufficient, especially since there is no strict timeline set by statute for the preliminary 43-11 notice.


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Send to Lien Agent; Send to Owner/GC

Residential preliminary notices to lien agent must be delivered to the lien agent. Section 43-11 notices must be delivered to the party that the project participant wants to hold personally liable.

Preliminary notice not required in WV
Preliminary Notice Not Required

Virginia does not require preliminary notice to be delivered by any project participant in order to retain the right to make a claim against the payment bond secured for a public project. However, sending preliminary notice even when not required is generally beneficial to promote visibility, open channels for communication, and streamline payment.


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N/A

On public jobs, any claims for non-payment are made against the general contractor's bond. 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.


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Notice Not Required from Subs

Virginia does not require preliminary notice to be delivered by any project participant in order to retain the right to make a claim against the payment bond secured for a public project. However, sending preliminary notice even when not required is generally beneficial to promote visibility, open channels for communication, and streamline payment.


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Notice Not Required from Suppliers

Virginia does not require preliminary notice to be delivered by any project participant in order to retain the right to make a claim against the payment bond secured for a public project. However, sending preliminary notice even when not required is generally beneficial to promote visibility, open channels for communication, and streamline payment.

Virginia is a state with an interesting preliminary notice scheme, and interesting potential preliminary notice requirements. Generally, preliminary notice is not required in Virginia – and is only a specific requirement on projects involving a one or two family residential dwelling when the owner-occupant identifies a lien agent to whom preliminary notice must be given. On all other projects, or if the residential owner-occupant fails to identify a lien agent, preliminary notice is not specifically required, but it may be of benefit.

If, on a residential project, a property owner appoints and identifies a “mechanics lien agent” all project participant must provide preliminary notice to the mechanics lien agent within 30 days of first providing service or labor for a project or 30 days from the date that the building permit was issued. Labor or materials provided prior to providing preliminary notice cannot be included in the lien.

On all other projects, or residential projects on which the property owner did not identify a mechanics lien agent, preliminary notice can be provided by project participants who want to make the owner and/or direct contractor personally liable to the noticing project participant.

The ability to make the owner or GC personally liable is a unique aspect of Virginia law, and the notices required to do so are set forth by Section 43-11. The notices themselves are unique here, in that both a preliminary 43-11 notice and a “post-work” 43-11 notice are required in order to impose personal liability on the owner or GC.

Preliminary Notice Frequently Asked Questions

If you're sending preliminary notices in Virginia, it's important to get all the details right. There are different preliminary notices with different rules and requirements that accomplish different things. 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 and confusing laws, this can all be difficult and tedious. Here are some frequently asked questions about the Virginia preliminary notice process.

Prelim FAQs on Private Projects

Do I Need to Send a Virginia Preliminary Notice?

It depends.

Residential Projects (one or two family residential dwelling): All potential lien claimants must give preliminary notice if the building permit contains the name, mailing address, and telephone number of a “mechanics lien agent.”

All other projects: All lien claimants (other than the general contractor) who wish to make the property owner and/or the general contractor personally liable to the lien claimant must provide preliminary notice. If the potential lien claimant is okay with relying solely on his lien rights, and not the personal liability of the owner and/or general contractor, the notice is optional, but not required. If a mechanics lien agent is identified in the building permit, a potential lien claimant may voluntarily provide notice to that party.

When do I Need to Send a Virginia Preliminary Notice?

Residential Projects: Notice must be provided within 30 days of the date on which the lien claimant first furnished labor and/or materials to the project, or within 30 days of the date on which the building permit was issued. If the notice is given later, it is only effective to labor and/or materials furnished on or after the date notice was given. It must include (1)  The name, mailing address and telephone number of the person (or company) sending the notice; (2) The building permit number; (3) A description of the property as shown on the building permit; and (4) A statement that the person filing such notice seeks payment for labor performed or material furnished

All other projects: No specific time is given for this notice to affect personal liability of the property owner and/or general contractor. But it is probably best practice to provide the notice either before, or shortly after the first date on which the lien claimant furnishes labor and/or materials to the project.

What if I Send the Virginia Preliminary Notice Late?

Residential Projects: If the notice is not filed timely it is not necessarily fatal to the potential lien claim, but it is only effective as to labor and/or materials furnished after the notice is served.

All other projects: Since no specific time limit is imposed on giving this notice, the notice may be sent at any time prior to 30 days after completion of the entire work. Note, however, that it is only effective to the money still owed to general contractor (or that the general owes a sub) at the time the notice is given.

How Should the Virginia Preliminary Notice be Sent?

All notices in Virginia may be sent by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested.

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

Residential Project: The notice must be given to the mechanics lien agent.

All other projects: Notice must be given to the parties whom the lien claimant wishes to hold personally liable, either the property owner, the general contractor, or both.

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

Notices sent by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, are considered delivered when sent.

Prelim FAQs on Public Projects

Do I Need to Send a Virginia Preliminary Notice?

No. Virginia does not require any preliminary notice to preserve the ability to make a bond claim.

When do I Need to Send a Virginia Preliminary Notice?

N/A

What if I Send the Virginia Preliminary Notice Late?

N/A

How Should the Virginia Preliminary Notice be Sent?

N/A

To Whom Must the Virginia Preliminary Notice be Given?

N/A

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Virginia Preliminary Notice Form Template

Virginia preliminary notice forms are regulated by statute. This doesn’t mean that the form has to look an exact certain way, but it does mean that the document is required to contain certain specific information, and substantial follow certain formal requirements. The forms provided here for free by Levelset are compliant with the Virginia rules. You can download them for free, or use our system to send or request them easily.

Virginia Notice to Owner Form - free from

Virginia Notice to Owner Form

A Virginia lien typically only obligates the owner to pay claimants from money it has yet to pay the general contractor. Subcontractors and suppliers who...

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Virginia Notice to Contractor Form - free from

Virginia Notice to Contractor Form

Whenever one performs work on a state project in Virginia, but who has not contracted directly with the general contractor, that party must provide a...

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Virginia Notice to Mechanics Lien Agent Form - free from

Virginia Notice to Mechanics Lien Agent Form

On one or two family residential projects, if a Mechanics Lien Agent (MLA) has been designated in the building permit, all contractors must provide a...

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