Preliminary Notice in Arizona (20 day notice of mechanic's lien)
As a contractor, subcontractor, or materials or equipment supplier, it's vital to ensure that the property owner receives his or her preliminary (a.k.a. "pre-lien" notice) within the required timeframe. In Arizona, that form of notice (called the "preliminary 20-day notice") must be sent within 20 days after the claimant first furnished labor, professional services, materials, machinery, fixtures, or tools to the jobsite. A.R.S. 33- 922.01(C).
So, who sends the notice in order to claim a later lien? The answer is every person who furnishes labor, professional services, materials, machinery, fixtures or tools, except for a person performing actual labor for wages, must serve the owner or reputed owner, the original contractor or reputed contractor, the construction lender, and the person with whom the claimant has contracted for the purchase of those items with a written preliminary twenty-day notice. A.R.S. 33- 922.01(B). So all parties, besides laborers working for wages, who are involved in a construction job should serve one.
The preliminary notice must contain the following information: (1) a general description of the labor, professional services, materials, machinery, fixtures or tools furnished or to be furnished and an estimate of the total price; (2) the name and address of the person furnishing labor, professional services, materials, machinery, fixtures or tools; (3) the name of the person who contracted for the purchase of labor, professional services, materials, machinery, fixtures or tools; and (4) a legal description, subdivision plat, street address, location with respect to commonly known roads or other landmarks in the area or any other description of the jobsite sufficient for identification. 33- 922.01(C). The notice also contains an "acknowledgement of service" that should be detached and returned to the noticing party once it has been received and acknowledged by the property owner. Keep this in your records if receipt of service is ever questioned by any party.
Although the notice is required, neglecting to serve the property owner with one within the required time is not completely fatal to a lien claim. You may still serve the notice later on but you may only claim a lien for the labor, professional services, materials, machinery, fixtures or tools furnished within twenty days prior to the service of the notice and at any time thereafter. A.R.S. 33- 922.01(E). Therefore, makes sense to keep a reliable calendar with these important dates to ensure that the notices go out on time, especially when handling multiple customers and jobs.
Once the notice has been prepared, serve it by first class mail sent with a certificate of mailing or registered/certified mail, postage prepaid, addressed to the person to whom notice is to be given at the person's residence or business address. A.R.S. 33- 922.01(F). Service is complete at the time of the deposit of notice in the mail. Id.
Occasionally you might need additional information from the property owner to accurately prepare your 20-day preliminary notice. Under Arizona law, the owner must provide this information and failure to provide it in time will not prejudice your lien claim even if it contains missing or inaccurate information. A.R.S. 33- 922.01(J). However, once the information is received you must file and serve an amended preliminary 20-day notice within 30 days. Id.
To obtain the necessary information, make a written request of the owner. Within ten days after receipt of a written request from any person intending to file a preliminary twenty-day notice, the owner or other interested party shall furnish the person a written statement containing the following information: (1) the legal description, subdivision plat, street address or location with respect to commonly known roads or other landmarks in the area, or any other description of the jobsite sufficient for identification; (2) the name and address of the owner or reputed owner; (3) the name and address of the original contractor or reputed contractor; (4) the name and address of the construction lender, if any, or reputed construction lender; and (5) if any payment bond has been recorded, a copy of the bond and the name and address of the surety company and bonding agent. A.R.S. 33- 922.01(I).
So, the preliminary 20-day notice is an essential step to securing an eventual mechanic's lien and the requirements demand strictly compliance to ensure there are no complications if a lien is ever needed. By working with the property owner to get the necessary information and timely submitting the notice, you're well on your way to getting your lien in place, should you ever need one.
This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Please contact an Arizona attorney with questions about filing a preliminary 20-day notice or any other issues relating to mechanic's liens.
Deeds.com Arizona Preliminary Notice of Mechanics Lien Forms Have Been Updated as Recently as Wednesday February 24, 2021
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