General Information
Preliminary Notice Forms

Warning: All information contained within this data base is subject to change at any time by the various states and is not guaranteed in any way by FWM Software. Nor does FWM Software assume any liability or responsibility for it's content. Please use in conjunction with advice from your attorney.

Note: For specific information on a state filing, see the state listing for its preliminary notice, if any. States requiring preliminary notices are noted at the end of this memo.

Description: Also known as a Notice of Furnishing, this is a notice given by a contractor, subcontractor or supplier to the owner, or public entity in charge, of the project property, and also to the lenders and the general contractors, that the person giving the notice will be performing labor, furnishing materials, providing services or renting equipment for a job and is advising the parties of their right to lien said property (in the case of a private work) or reserve moneys (in the case of a public work) in the event of non-payment.

This form is not a lien, but an advisory of your lien rights, and differs from a lien warning notice, which is a notice of your intent to file a lien within a specific period of time. However, you will find some forms called Lien Warning Notices printing from the Preliminary Notice section, but only if the form, despite what the state of origin calls it, is more like a Preliminary Notice than a Lien Warning Notice.

For states that do not have a Preliminary Notice Form, or for the Federal Government, Lien Writer® can print a generic form at your discretion for the sole purpose of advising the Parties involved of your lien rights. However, it is not required that you do so. In the case of Public Works jobs it is encouraged since the generic form also makes demand for a copy of the public bond. Many state agencies are required to provide copies of the bond on demand.

Scope: A Preliminary Notice, or its like, is required for the following states:


Note: *Preliminary Notice required only for single family owner occupied residence projects. +Preliminary Notice required if you supply only materials to a subcontractor who only furnishes materials. Preliminary Notice only required for wholly non-commercial projects. #Preliminary Notice required only if you are a contractor or subcontractor of the job. Material men and other suppliers may not lien. Preliminary Notice required only if you contract directly with owner. %Preliminary Notice is not specifically required, but a Notice of Contract is vital.


Note: The states marked with a '+' do not require a public preliminary notice, but do require the Public Entity to supply you with a copy of the Surety Bond upon written demand. The marked states, from the Preliminary Notice option, will print this demand. Since you can make demand on the bond for moneys due you, we recommend this option. As to Public Entities of other states, while they may not be under any legal requirement to provide you with a copy of the bond, almost all will do so on demand. Because of this we strongly suggest that a Preliminary Notice should be sent for ALL public works projects, all states (see below).*Preliminary Notice required only for Public Works contracts of $50,000.00 or more. %Preliminary Notice only required on jobs were rental or leased equipment is furnished.

For those states that use surety bonds but do not have a statutory system for requesting copies of the bond, the generic preliminary notice makes that request anyway. Whether the public entity for that state complies with that request is another question, but we recommend that you send a Preliminary Notice for all of your public works jobs.

Time Constraints: This notice must usually be given shortly before commencing the job (generally 5 to 30 days), or shortly thereafter, and, in the event of non-payment, a lien must be filed within 90 to 120 days of the date of commencement.

Information: Program information, including Exhibit information, if needed.

Form Types: Preliminary Notice and Exhibits A-D, if needed.

Procedures: Send copies of the forms by certified return receipt requested mail (we strongly urge that you always use certified or registered mail, return receipt requested when mailing) or personal service (some states restrict personal service) to all parties required to be notified by the state where the project is located (see the memo for the particular state for more information).

You may optionally send the owner or public entity of the project the Owner Cover Letter to help avoid angry phone calls from owners or public entities receiving Preliminary Notices. The letter explains why you have to send Preliminary Notices and also encourages owners to get releases from your company before their final check is written.

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