How to Serve a Notice of Intent to Lien in Colorado: Deadline, Recipient and Requirements | Handle

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How to Serve a Notice of Intent to Lien in Colorado: Deadline, Recipient and Requirements

How to Serve a Notice of Intent to Lien in Colorado: Deadline, Recipient and Requirements

December 4, 2020

Depending on the state where you’re working as a construction professional, you may be required to serve the property owner with a Notice of Intent to Lien before you can record a mechanics lien. This pre-lien notice informs the property owner of your plan to record a mechanics lien. In most cases, serving this notice is enough to prompt the property owner to release your payment, just so you don’t end up filing a lien.

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Most states do not require lien claimants to serve a Notice of Intent to Lien. In Colorado, however, every lien claimant is legally obligated to serve a Notice of Intent to Lien before they can successfully record a mechanics lien.

This step-by-step guide walks you through the process of preparing and serving a Colorado Notice of Intent to Lien.

Who must serve a Notice of Intent in Colorado?

As mentioned, all lien claimants in Colorado must serve the property owner with a Notice of Intent to Lien prior to recording a mechanics lien. This is a very strict requirement. One may not make a mechanics lien claim in Colorado without submitting a valid Notice of Intent to the owner.

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Note that the Colorado Notice of Intent is not the same as a Colorado preliminary notice, which is only optional in the state.

When do you serve a Colorado Notice of Intent?

The Colorado Notice of Intent must be served 10 days prior to recording a mechanics lien. However, keep in mind that serving a Notice of Intent does not extend the deadline for filing a mechanics lien.

In Colorado, a mechanics lien must be recorded within 4 months of the date when you last performed work or furnished materials to a project. For laborers, the deadline is within 2 months of project completion. The Notice of Intent must be served no later than 10 days before the applicable mechanics lien deadline.

When do you serve a Colorado Notice of Intent

What happens if you fail to serve a Colorado Notice of Intent?

You will not be able to record a valid mechanics lien if you do not serve a Notice of Intent to Lien on the property owner of your project on time.

How to serve a Colorado Notice of Intent

How to serve a Colorado Notice of Intent

1. Prepare the Colorado Notice of Intent form

Colorado laws do not have a prescribed Notice of Intent to Lien form. However, it is best practice to write the following details on your Notice of Intent:

  • Your name and address
  • The name and address of the property owner
  • A description of the property location sufficient for identification
  • A description of the labor and materials you provided to the project
  • The unpaid amount to be claimed with your mechanics lien
  • A statement saying that you will be recording a mechanics lien in 10 days if the outstanding debt remains unpaid.

Make sure that you clearly state your intention to record a mechanics lien. This statement is what usually convinces property owners to settle outstanding payments because they do not want to tarnish their property’s records with a mechanics lien claim.

Note that in addition to the Notice of Intent to Lien form, you are also required to attach a completed and notarized copy of your Colorado mechanics lien. This means that when you serve a Notice of Intent, you are expected to have already prepared your mechanics lien statement and are indeed ready to have it recorded.

2. Serve the Notice of Intent

Once your Notice of Intent is ready, serve it on the property owner via personal delivery, registered mail, or certified mail with return receipt requested. Remember that a notarized copy of your Colorado mechanics lien form must be attached to your Notice of Intent to Lien.

Send a notice of intent to lien today

You may also serve the Notice of Intent on the general contractor. Some GCs are contractually obligated to keep a property lien-free, so they might also help ensure that you get paid before you can record a mechanics lien.

Keep in mind that you must serve the Notice of Intent 10 days before filing a mechanics lien. This is to give property owners a chance to settle the payment dispute before a mechanics lien is recorded.

It is also important to note that serving a Notice of Intent to Lien in Colorado will not extend the deadline for filing a mechanics lien. Technically, you should serve your Notice of Intent to Lien no later than 10 days prior to the mechanics lien deadline.

Best practices for serving a Colorado Notice of Intent

1. Serve a Colorado Notice of Intent to Lien way before the deadline

You should serve your Notice of Intent to Lien early or way before the deadline for filing a mechanics lien. Remember that the Notice of Intent is a mandatory notice in Colorado, and serving it late can cost you your lien rights over your project. Also keep in mind that a notarized copy of your mechanics lien form must be attached to your Notice of Intent.

2. Specify your intention to record a mechanics lien

The Notice of Intent should clearly communicate your intention to record a mechanics lien if you do not receive your due payment. Think of it as a demand letter and ultimatum that you give to the property owner. If your intent isn’t clear, the property owner might end up ignoring your notice, even if it comes with a completed mechanics lien form.

3. Record a Colorado mechanics lien if payment is still not settled

If a payment dispute does not get settled even after serving a Notice of Intent on the property owner, you should go on and record a Colorado mechanics lien. Filing a mechanics lien against a property can be the final warning that will urge the property owner to settle the debt and clear their property of any payment claim.

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