Sending a Washington DC 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 Washington DC.
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Notice of intent to lien
Washington DC preliminary notice requirements for:
General contractors are not required to send a preliminary notice on private projects.
However, sending a preliminary notice on every project improves transparency on the job and could contribute to a speedy payment.
General contractors are not required to send a preliminary notice on public projects.
Subcontractors and suppliers are not required to send a preliminary notice in private projects.
However, sending a preliminary notice no matter the requirements is a good way to improve transparency and facilitate a speedier payment.
Subcontractors and suppliers are not required to send a preliminary notice on public projects.
If you're sending preliminary notices in Washington D.C., 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 are subject to a lot of complex rules and requirements, this can all be difficult. Not to mention that the process is tedious for everyone involved. These are some frequently asked questions about the Washington D.C. preliminary notice process.
Washington D.C. Private Project Preliminary Notice FAQs
To Whom Must the Washington DC Preliminary Notice be Given?
People are asking Washington DC construction attorneys:
What is the proper protocol for mailing Pre-lien notices?
A Washington Notice to Owner should be sent to both the property owner and the prime contractor. You can learn more about Washington's preliminary notice requirements with these resource: Washington Preliminary Notice FAQs.
Regarding lien waivers: Yes, Washington construction businesses are required to waive lien rights if payment has been made. This is laid out at RCW § 60.04.071, which states "Upon payment and acceptance of the amount due to the lien claimant and upon demand of the owner or the person making payment, the lien claimant shall immediately prepare and execute a release of all lien rights for which payment has been made, and deliver the release to the person making payment." And, if a party unjustifiably withholds a lien waiver, they could face having to pay damages and attorney fees for others.
Is the failure to identify the type of labor or materials in a preliminary notice render it insufficient?
It would be up to the Court to determine whether or not the preliminary notice was valid in these circumstances. However, I think that a Court could find that an owner had enough information to make a reasonable inquiry if the preliminary notice at least listed the contractor’s name and address to the owner could call them and ask questions. It could also be obvious if the contractor’s name gave an indication as to the type of work they do (i.e. Joe’s Plumbing, Best Electrical, etc.)
Still, for determining last furnishing in other situations and states: A given project's last furnishing date is tied to when the labor, materials, or equipment were last furnished to the project, not to the relevant contract terms. So, if some equipment comes back early, the deadline should generally still be based on when the equipment was last used at the project site.
It’s rare that a state has no preliminary notice requirements for any party on any project, but that’s the case in Washington DC (even though it’s not really a state).
While there may be no specific requirements to provide a preliminary notice in the District of Columbia, that doesn’t mean that providing some the of notice is a bad idea. In fact, providing preliminary notice, even when not required, is usually the smart thing to do. Providing a voluntary preliminary notice document, provided it’s drafted and formulated correctly, can be beneficial by promoting project visibility, providing helpful information, opening channels for communication, and streamlining payment.
The above are just some of the many reasons to provide voluntary preliminary notices, or as we like to call them at Levelset, “visibility documents” but, in fact, there are many more reasons, as well.
The generic notice form can be used in Washington DC along with any other state where preliminary notices aren’t required. It provides information about your company to the property owner, general contractor, and other parties in charge of payment on a construction project.
Fill out the form
Be careful! Accuracy is important.
After you download the form, the next step is to fill the form out completely and accurately. Property owners and GCs often rely on this document to communicate with you, so mistakes on this form can cause payment delays.
Deliver the form
Since preliminary notices aren’t required in Washington DC, there are no specific requirements for delivery. Deliver your notice however you see fit.
How to send a Preliminary Notice with Levelset
Select Preliminary Notice document.
Provide basic job information.
Levelset sends the document for you. Postage included!