Mechanic's Lien Preliminary Notices in Washington
Most states require some form of preliminary notice to be served on a property owner as part of the mechanic's lien process. This lets the owner know who is working on the job and protect him or herself from "hidden liens." Therefore, contractors who anticipate needing to file liens should follow the proper procedure. The Notice of Right to Claim of Lien is the required form of preliminary notice used in Washington. R.C.W. 60.04.031.
Subject to a few exceptions, every person furnishing professional services, materials, or equipment used for the improvement of real property must give the owner (or reputed owner) notice in writing of the right to claim a lien. See R.C.W. 60.04.031(1). This notice shall also be given to the prime contractor unless the potential lien claimant has contracted directly with the prime contractor. Id.
The notice may be given at any time but only protects the right to claim a lien for professional services, materials, or equipment supplied after the date which is sixty (60) days before:
(a) Mailing the notice by certified or registered mail to the owner or reputed owner; or
(b) Delivering or serving the notice personally upon the owner or reputed owner and obtaining evidence of delivery in the form of a receipt or other acknowledgment signed by the owner or reputed owner or an affidavit of service. See Id.
In the case of new construction of a single-family residence, the notice of a right to claim a lien may be given at any time but only protects the right to claim a lien for professional services, materials, or equipment supplied after a date which is ten (10) days before the notice is given. Id.
There are some instances when the notice of a right to claim of lien will not be required. Notices of a right to claim a lien shall not be required of:
(a) Persons who contract directly with the owner or the owner's common law agent;
(b) Laborers whose claim of lien is based solely on performing labor; or
(c) Subcontractors who contract for the improvement of real property directly with the prime contractor. See R.C.W. 60.04.031(2).
Additionally, persons who furnish professional services, materials, or equipment in connection with the repair, alteration, or remodel of an existing owner-occupied single-family residence or garage who contracted directly with the owner-occupier or their common-law agent are not required to send a written notice of the right to claim a lien and will have a lien for the full amount due under their contract. See R.C.W. 60.04.031(3)(a).
However, those without a direct contract with the owner-occupier or their common-law agent must notify the owner of the right to claim a lien. See R.C.W. 60.04.031(3)(b). Lien claims of suppliers without a direct contract with the owner are paid separately from the prime contractor when the notice is received. Id.
The notice of right to claim a lien must include the following information:
(1) the property owner's name and address, (2) the date the notice was sent,
(3) a subject or identifying line, (4) the name and address of the party sending the notice, (5) the name of the party that requested the work, and
(6) a brief description of professional services, materials, or equipment provided or to be provided. See R.C.W. 60.04.031(4).
Ensure that the notice is completed properly and sent before the required deadline approaches. It's usually a good idea to institute a reliable calendar system with a backup redundancy, such as electronic alerts on a phone or computer.
This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Please consult with a Washington attorney with questions about the notice of right to claim of lien, or any other issues related to mechanic's liens.
Deeds.com Washington Notice of Right to Claim of Lien Forms Have Been Updated as Recently as Monday March 29, 2021
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