At CNS we are asked this question daily “Is it too late to send a preliminary notice?” The short answer is “No”, you can always send a preliminary/pre-lien/right to lien notice at any time.
The notice is most effective if sent within the first 20 days on a job in California. The preliminary notice protects your mechanic lien rights for work or materials supplied on the project 20 days prior to the notice being sent and then for the duration of the job. Due to the protective nature of the preliminary notice, it is important to send them on time, on every job.
Let’s look at an example:
Your first day on the job or first day supplying material was May 1. Your timeframe to send a preliminary notice which protects your whole job would be May 21. However, you lost track of time and sent your notice on May 26. 20 Days prior to May 26 is May 6. This means that the preliminary notice protects your ability to claim a mechanics lien for materials and or labor from May 6 thru completion of the project. Since you were late, you lost the ability to record a lien on the property for the work that was done on the first 5 days of the job. With that being said, protecting the remainder of your project is better than not having any lien rights at all.
Different states have different time frames. For example, in Arizona & California the contractor or supplier has 20 days from the start of the job or the first delivery of materials, to properly send a preliminary notice. In Nevada you have 31 days, Oregon 8 business days, and Washington 60 days from the start of the project.
If you need help figuring out your times-frames, give CNS a call! (800-366-5660)