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Michigan Mechanic’s Liens: Notice of Commencement

 In Mechanic’s Lien Law Changes and News for Michigan

In many states, a notice of commencement is optional and not required. Not so in Michigan. In this state, before commencing work on a project, the owner is required to record in the office of the Registrar of Deeds of the county in which the project is located a NOTICE OF COMMENCEMENT. This notice is also required to be posted in a conspicuous place on the project. This is just another requirement before recording a Michigan mechanic’s lien.

The statutory purpose of such notice is to provide the requisite information for subcontractors and suppliers to send out their pre-lien notices. Without this information, it is sometimes difficult to determine the exact name and address of an owner and if you are a sub-subcontractor or supplier, you may not know the name and address of the general contractor. In turn, by serving the pre-lien notice, this puts the owner on notice that you are a potential lien claimant and hopefully insures that the money will filter through to you.

Michigan requires this notice to have special provisions and information and, therefore is a good idea to use the forms available on our national Lien loss site.

If the Notice of Commencement is not posted at the job site, copies can be obtained from the owner, tenant, general contractor, or subcontractor. Once a written request is made, these persons must furnish copies of the notice. Send the request to the owner or to the person with whom you have a contract, by certified
mail. You are then required to receive a copy of the Notice of Commencement, with a blank NOTICE OF FURNISHING form. With the information available, you can then fill out the blank form and satisfy your notice requirements. Most importantly, Notice of Commencement is required to have attached a blank NOTICE OF FURNISHING. Always use that standard form since the language it contains is required by the statute.

Remember also that the owner or tenant is required to give a copy of the Notice of Commencement and the blank NOTICE OF FURNISHING form to the general contractor. Note also that the Notice of Commencement and the blank NOTICE OF FURNISHING must be kept posted at the job site during the course of the project. It cannot simply be posted in the beginning and taken down.

When an owner or tenant fails to record the Notice of Commencement, this gives subcontractors and suppliers extra time to serve their prelien notice, as a prerequisite to a Michigan mechanic’s lien. Normally, they must serve that notice within 20 days of first furnishing labor and materials. However, if the Notice of Commencement is recorded late, subcontractors and suppliers have 20 days to serve their notice after the recording of the Notice of Commencement. If the Notice of Commencement is never recorded, it is always safe to serve your NOTICE OF FURNISHING at least at the time of the recording of your Michigan lien.

For more information, go to the Michigan mechanic’s lien law summary.