Filing a Mechanic's Lien 101: Notice to Owner
Unbeknownst to most contractors, many states require a Notice to Owner (NTO) form as a first step in evaluating whether a contractor has lien rights. You've not been paid for a job and want to file a lien - did you give the property owner a Notice to Owner before starting work?
Other commons names exist in the field, but you may have heard "Pre-lien Notice" more often than Notice to Owner. This is NOT the same thing as your Notice of Lien, which is the actual filing of the lien itself. The Notice to Owner is separate and distinct and must come first, based on your locale and position on the project (i.e. general contractor)... more about that and other factors coming soon.
It's easy to incorporate a Notice to Owner form with your estimate or service agreement without it being intimidating or deterring the customer from accepting your bid. Many CRMs allow for easy incorporation so the customer doesn't know the wiser because it's presented as part of your standard paperwork.
Don't assume you automatically have lien rights, hence the importance of this mechanic's lien mini series. Certain pre-requisites must be followed to have lien rights in most areas. In the event you don't get paid in full, if a Notice to Owner is required and has been submitted, at least you can check the box for this particular pre-requisite to file a lien.
Haven't been paid and want to explore potential lien rights? Contact Us today!