ORIGINAL CONTRACTOR/GENERAL CONTRACTOR (those hired by the Owner or Owner’s Agent): If you were hired by the Property Owner or the Owner’s Agent, then you are not required to serve or file any Pre-Lien Notices before filing your Mechanics Lien. You can move straight to filing a Lien. However, you might consider sending a strong Payment Demand Letter before filing a Lien if you think it will resolve the payment dispute.
ALL SUBCONTRACTORS/SUPPLIERS: If you were not hired by the Property Owner or the Property Owner’s Agent, then you must serve the Property Owner and the General Contractor with a Pre-Lien Notice by the 15th day of the second month, for each and every month that you provided labor or materials to the Property and have not been paid. If you have a question about the Pre-Lien service deadlines, .
If you provided labor/materials in January and February and were not paid, then for the work done in January, you must serve a Pre-Lien Notice by no later than March 15; for the work done in February, you must serve the Pre-Lien Notice by no later than April 15. In other words, you have to notify the Property Owner each and every month payment has not been made.
In the above example, you could serve just one Notice (combining both months) as long as the Notice is sent before March 15th (which would be the 15th of the second month for the work performed in January). Keep in mind you can always serve a Notice early, just don’t serve it late.
A Property Owner is allowed to release final payment (typically withheld statutory retainage) to the General Contractor within 30 days after completion of the entire Project. Once it has been released, you can no longer require the Property Owner to withhold it or place a Mechanics Lien against it. As such, if possible, always serve the Pre-Lien Notice (regardless of your final deadline) before the Property Owner releases final payment to the General Contractor. On residential homestead Properties, the Property Owner is not liable to a Subcontractor or Material Supplier for any amount paid to its General Contractor (including the withheld 10% retainage) before receiving a Pre-Lien Notice. Again, consider serving the Pre-Lien Notice as soon as you expect a payment dispute and before the Property Owner releases final payment to the General Contractor.
The deadline to serve a Notice is not extended if the 15th falls on a Sunday or legal holiday. Therefore, if your deadline falls on one of these days, you must serve the Notice on the preceding business day for it to be timely.