Throughout our three decades of processing preliminary notices and recording mechanic’s liens, one of the main questions we are asked is “Do I have to send out a preliminary notice?” In Arizona, the answer is yes, Arizona law states that all contractors, no matter their relationship to the owner, must send out a timely Preliminary 20-Day Notice. Even the general contractor, by law, must send the preliminary notice to the owner and mail a copy to themselves.
In most other states (California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, New Mexico) it depends on your relationship to the property owner. If you are in Direct Contractual Relationship with the property owner, you may not have to send out a preliminary notice to protect your lien rights.
However, property ownership is defined as the person/persons/entity/entities who own the land. If Tenant Improvement or T.I. work is being done, more often than not, you are dealing with the tenant or the lessee not the owner/lessor. When you are working under contract with the tenant you are not in direct contract with the owner and therefore you must send out a preliminary notice.
Another common occurrence is with restoration companies. The customer is calling you because they have an emergency; be it flood, fire, mold…etc. Often times the contractor doesn’t know if they are dealing with the property owner, a tenant, or the owner’s child/friend/neighbor and through all the commotion the last thing on the contractor’s mind is to ask who the owner is.
In all instances, it’s best practice to send out a timely preliminary notice if you are not 100% sure who the property owner is. If you aren’t entirely sure who the owner is give CNS a call and we will conduct our jobsite research and send out a timely notice to all the property owners to ensure that your lien rights are protected.