Jill Bloom moderates this “If Walls Could Talk” podcast with Thea Dudley for W&C. In this episode, Dudley discusses pre-liens. What is a pre-lien? 

Most people consider a pre lien notice to be any notice or letter that a construction party (contractor, supplier, design professional, etc.) must give before filing a mechanics lien. In other words, a pre lien notice is a preliminary notice.

Pre lien notices comes in all shapes and sizes — and names. Some states don’t give the notice a name, but simply refer to the required document as “notice.” More common names for these “pre lien” notices as outlined by state lien law include:

  • “Preliminary Notice”
  • “Notice to Owner” (used in 13 states including Florida, Colorado, Missouri, and Tennessee)
  • “Notice to Owner and Contractor” (used in Arkansas)
  • “Notice of Furnishing” (used in 4 states – Michigan, Ohio, S. Carolina, and S. Dakota)
  • “Notice of Right to Lien” (used in Oregon)

All of these notices must be sent at or near the time that one first performs work (furnishes labor or materials) to a project. Sometimes, these notices can be sent before work even begins, though usually not before a contract is signed. However, there is one other document that often is grouped under the pre lien umbrella that has a different set of rules and uses: the Notice of Intent to Lien.

“If you want to be aggressive, go ahead and serve a non-statutory. If you’re the credit person with the distributor, then you’re able to reach to the customer,” says Dudley.

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