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
Is a prelim required to be sent to General Contractor each time we bill the Prime Subcontractor?
In California the preliminary notice required to preserve your lien rights only needs to be sent once at the start of the project, and should be sent certified. It secures lien rights (if you are not paid) for any work performed within 20 days before the notice and through the end of the project. If the subcontract price increases through change orders by more than 10% during the project, it is a good idea to send an amended preliminary notice showing the increased contract price.
The Prime Contractor likely has the right to issue joint checks for the amounts invoiced to you by your materials suppliers, but this may depend on the specific terms and conditions contained within your subcontract. For projects of significant value, it may be worth it to retain an attorney to review the proposed subcontract before you sign, and the attorney could give you feedback on the terms and conditions or suggest areas you may want to negotiate.
A Notice of Indentification isn't required to have the right to file a MA mechanics lien, but it will gre atly increase the amount of protection (i.e. value recoverable under your lien claim). We recommend that Massachusetts subcontractors send this notice on every project.
Typically, a subcontractor's lien claim in Massachusetts is limited to the unpaid balance owed to the prime contractor at the time the subcontractor filed their Notice of Contract. However, if the Notice of Identification is sent properly, and the subcontractor ultimately files a lien, the amount secured will be the entire contract price.
So how does one "send a Notice of Identification properly?"
The notice must be sent to the GC and the owner by certified mail with return receipt requested, within 30 days of first furnsihing labor or materials to the project.
Can the constructor send a mechnics lien asking more money than owed to the job?
Unless you received a preliminary notice from the contractor within 20 days after the work being performed, the lien is invalid on those grounds. A preliminary notice is a document that the contractor doing work for a tenant has to provide the owner in order to put the owner on notice that the contractor may have lien rights if the tenant does not pay. If you haven't received a preliminary notice, and it has been more than 20 days since the work was performed, I would recommend writing the contractor telling them to release the lien because it is invalid because you never received a preliminary notice.
Additionally, a mechanics lien may only validly seek the amount owed under contract or the reasonable value of the work performed (less prior amounts paid) which ever is less. The lien may also include interest at the rate of 7 pecent per year, however, it is improper to include legal fees in a mechanics lien, and you should include that in your letter.
If the contractor still refuses to release the lien after being paid the principal amount, I would recomend you retain a qualified attorney to assist you in removing the lien.
Also keep in mind that the lien is only valid for 90 days, and if the contractor does not sue to foreclose on the lien within 90 days of recording, you may petition the court to release the lien. There is a notice required before filing the petition, and I recommend you engage an attorney if you are contemplating filing a petition to release the lien.
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!