Before the Mechanics Lien: How to Serve a Pre-Lien Notice in Arizona

 In Mechanic’s Lien Law Updates and News

This article will address the question of how to file a mechanics lien in Arizona.

Before you can file a mechanic’s lien in Arizona, everyone, whether a general, sub, or supplier, must serve a preliminary 20-Day Notice. Here is the rundown on how these notices work.

 Name of the Pre-Lien Notice

Arizona Preliminary 20-Day Lien Notice.

                                                Who Must Uses this Notice

Unlike other states which require a Pre-Lien Notice to be served only by subcontractors and suppliers, Arizona requires all claimants, whether general, sub, supplier, or laborer, to serve the Pre-Lien Notice.  Without the notice, filing a mechanics lien in Arizona is not allowed.  In other words, you would not be entitled to file an Arizona mechanic’s lien form or claim of lien.

 When to Serve

The Pre-Lien Notice must be served no later than 20 days after the claimant has first furnished labor, services, materials, machinery, fixtures, or tools to the project.  Remember, there is no such thing as a premature Arizona Pre-Lien Notice, so it is recommended you send these out early.  One way is to simply send them out as soon as you have your contract signed, so you do not forget.  If you do forget, you can always serve the Pre-Lien Notice late, but you get a Arizona mechanic’s lien only for the labor and materials furnished for the 20 days immediately before sending out the Pre-Lien Notice and for labor and materials furnished thereafter.

 Serving

Do so by By mail.  There is some uncertainty in the wording of the statute.  It states that the Notice may be served: “by first class mail with certificate of mailing, registered or certified mail, addressed to the person . . . “ Does this mean you have to serve by two mailings, including first class mail with a certificate of mailing and certified?  Probably not, since this would be the only state in the nation requiring double mailings.  The better interpretation is that you have the option of either certified mail or first class mail with a certificate of mailing.  One of the benefits of the latter form of service is that no one can refuse it because the mail is delivered even though the recipient does not sign for it.   Arizona law also requires that after you serve the Notice, you get a “Proof of Service”.  This comes either from a signature of acknowledgment by the addressee (the person you sent the Notice to) at the bottom of the Pre-Lien form or a separate Proof of Service that you sign showing that you did the proper mailing.   Service by this form of mailing is considered complete as of the date of mailing.

The Arizona Pre-Notice must be in writing.  Arizona law pre-determines its content and you must include certain mandatory language.

You are required to serve the general contractor, owner, and construction lender.

You can make an estimate of the amount of your contract to be inserted in the Pre-Lien Notice and you are protected up to 120% of the amount.  If your services exceed that amount, you must file a supplemental Notice. Arizona is the only state that has such a requirement and it can be quite a nuisance at times. For example, it is not uncommon to have change orders during the course of construction which exceeded that percentage. Unfortunately, you must re-serve a new Notice as soon after as possible. Use the Supplemental Preliminary Notice on this site.

 Verified or Notarized?

 A verified notice simply means you sign it and are representing the contents are true and accurate.  A notarized notice is signed in front of a Notary Public or other official.  A verified notice is all that is required in Arizona.

So in answering the question: “What is a mechanic’s lien in Arizona?”  Remember Arizona mechanic’s lien law, like other states, can be tricky and is a creature of statute.  As such, the requirements are strictly construed.  To be safe, use the updated lien forms on this site.  Good luck.

 

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