Most states require some type of preliminary notice in order for contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and any other parties procuring goods or services to obtain a lien against a property owner. If you operate in Louisiana, however, one preliminary notice may not be enough.
Multiple preliminary notices required for parties that furnish labor/materials.
In November 2013, in J. Reed Constructors, Inc. v. Roofing Supply Group, LLC the Louisiana Court of Appeal ruled that multiple preliminary notices are required for parties that furnish labor and/or materials to the project over more than one month.
As a result, Louisiana now requires a preliminary notice to be sent “on or before seventy-five days from the last day of the month in which the material was delivered.” The court has interpreted this to mean that a preliminary notice must be sent within 75 days of the last day of each month in which the materials were delivered. Several other states have similar laws on the books.
Make sure that you are aware of your state’s preliminary notice requirements in order to avoid forfeiting your lien rights.
Preliminary notices are vital to the validity of a lien proceedings initiated by a construction vendor. However, many construction procurers are reluctant to send preliminary notices because they are afraid of scaring away customers. In addition to being a legal prerequisite to filing a lien in court, a preliminary notice or notice to owner does warn the owner of impending lien action on your part. However, far from being an adversarial filing, the notice actually protects the property owner against liens by providing them with a window for paying their outstanding invoices or applications.
In the case where the property owner is a general contractor or developer, sending them a preliminary notice may not only be a requirement but also a boon to your business over the long term. In order to minimize their lien exposure, general contractors and developers often invest considerable effort in tracking which businesses send preliminary notices, prioritizing payments to those vendors that send out the notices. More often than not these companies are grateful to receive these notices, and sending them to your customers has been proven to speed up payments on your account.
Rely on construction law attorneys to ensure your lien notice compliance.
Sending the required preliminary notices at the right time can make the difference between success and failure in your lien proceedings. When dealing with a non-paying customer or any other legal issue, be sure to consult with the construction law attorneys at Smiley Law.