Preliminary Notice FAQs
Q: What is a Notice of Furnishing or Preliminary Notice? Are they the same thing?
A: Yes, a Notice of Furnishing or a Preliminary Notice are the same thing. The term “Notice of Furnishing” is only used in Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina and South Dakota while “Preliminary Notice” is used in other states.
A Preliminary Notice preserves the lien rights of the party that does not have a direct contract with the property owner. For example, subcontractors, sub-subcontractors, laborers, material suppliers, and more should send a Preliminary Notice. A Preliminary Notice must be sent by a specified deadline and may be a prerequisite to having an enforceable Construction Lien. Failing to send a Preliminary Notice does defeat your Lien rights, but it might limit them.
Q: Do I have to send a Notice of Furnishing or Preliminary Notice?
A: It depends on your state’s requirements and your role in the construction project. Many states require a Preliminary Notice from any party that does not have a direct contract with the property owner, such as a subcontractor, supplier, material provider, or laborer. It is always in your best interest to send a copy of the Preliminary Notice.
For reference, here is a list of each state’s Preliminary Notice deadlines and requirements.
Q: Which states require a Preliminary Notice for Prime Contractors?
A: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Q: Which states require a Preliminary Notice for Subcontractors?
A: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
Q: What happens if I don’t send a Notice of Furnishing or Preliminary Notice?
A: In the states that require a Preliminary Notice, there can be serious consequences for not sending one. You have to remember, that for those states that require a Preliminary Notice to be sent, there will also be consequences if you don’t. Even though failing to provide a Preliminary Notice does not defeat your lien rights, it might, however, limit how much you can recover under the lien or prevent you from collecting at all. The major adverse effect is that you may not be able to collect money owed for work performed before the Preliminary Notice was sent.
For specific information on Notice of Furnishing or Preliminary Notice in Michigan or Ohio, please see our “All You Need to Know About Michigan Notice of Furnishing” and “All You Need to Know About Ohio Notice of Furnishing” pages.
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Q: What information should be included in a Notice of Furnishing?
A: Even though each state has its own requirements, at minimum, you should include the same information as that provided in the Notice of Commencement, including:
Your name and address
Name and address of the property owner
Name and address of the General Contractor or the party that hired you
A description of the type of work that you are providing to the project
See our pages “All You Need to Know About Michigan Notice of Furnishing” and “All you Need to Know About Ohio Notice of Furnishing,” for more specific information about filing the Notice of Furnishing in Michigan and Ohio.
This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice or used as a substitute for speaking with an attorney. Please consult with a licensed attorney in your state for any questions about Notice of Furnishing/Preliminary Notice or any other issues related to liens.