Mechanics Lien in Connecticut. Are you serving the Notice of Intent First?
When it comes to filing a mechanic’s lien in Connecticut, we are all generally familiar with the process of going to the town clerk’s office and filing that Connecticut lien. But remember this is only the first step. By statute, there is a requirement that all lien claimants file a notice of intent to lien in the first instance. Here are the basic parameters.
For most states, the notice of intent to lien is purely optional. It constitutes a warning shot fired over the head of the owner, in essence, giving that person some time to analyze their accounts and make payment before the necessity of filing the mechanic’s lien itself. But as to later filing a Connecticut lien, it is an absolute requirement.
Note that the notice of intent to lien is required on all types of projects, whether residential, commercial, or industrial. But the notice is only required by subcontractors and suppliers. So, if you are a prime contractor and have a direct contract with the owner, you certainly record a Connecticut mechanics lien, but there is no need to serve the notice. However, ones license status is not the determining factor. The question is: Who you have a contract with? If you are a subcontractor with a direct verbal or written contract with the owner, there is no need to serve the notice.
The owner must be served . And, if the general contractor has filed with the town clerk a document called “Affidavit of Notice of Identification by Original Contractor”, the prime should also be served. Call us if you need help determining if this affidavit was recorded with the clerk. It states the general contractor’s name, business address, and a description of the property. It must be recorded within fifteen days after starting the work.
How is the notice of intent served? If the owner or general contractor lives in the same town as the construction project, you must serve it by hand–this typically means paying approximately $40 to have a private process server hand deliver it. Simply look under “process servers” in the yellow pages. You also have the option of hiring a sheriff or marshal. If the owner or general contractor lives outside the town limits of the project, you can serve them by certified mail. Do so the old fashioned way with the green return card so you will have an original signature. A Connecticut mechanic’s lien is too powerful a device not to use all the requirements.
Remember also that you must record this pre-lien notice with town clerk, in addition to making the service.
Many people ask, what happens if the certified mail is returned unclaimed? You can go to the time and effort of having the notice published in a newspaper, but this is much too expensive. The best thing to do is simply retain a process server or marshal to personally serve.
Since the notice is recorded, you must have it signed, verified, and notarized. Just like a Connecticut lien itself. Serve the copies and keep the originals for later filing. Keep another copy for your records.
How to file in mechanic’s lien in Connecticut. If you follow the strict requirements, the process is relatively easy. But remember, we are here to answer any of your questions if they arise.