Construction Frequently
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Preliminary Notice FAQ

An Arizona preliminary notice is a letter sent by a contractor or supplier to the property owner at the start of a construction project. In many states, a preliminary notice is required to be sent in order to secure the right to lien.

Yes, all parties that furnish labor, service and materials for a construction project are required to send a preliminary notice to  preserve lien rights in Arizona.⁴

All construction participants in Arizona who provide labor, services or materials are required to send a 20-day preliminary notice in order to secure the right to lien.

An Arizona preliminary notice must be given to the property owner, general contractor and construction lender.

Failure to send a preliminary notice in Arizona may invalidate a lien. 

However, a preliminary notice sent late can still protect the right to lien. But the coverage of the lien will start 20 days prior to the sending of the notice.

Intent To File FAQ

An Arizona notice of intent to lien is sent before the filing of a mechanics lien becomes necessary.. Although only a number of states require that this notice be sent, many construction participants send a notice of intent to lien as an uncostly way to have payments for invoices settled.

No, an Arizona notice of intent to lien is not required. But a claimant may send one, which gives the property owner 10 days to settle outstanding payments before a lien is to be filed.

Send your Arizona notice of intent to lien at least 10 days before your intended date of filing a mechanics lien.

You may send your Arizona notice of intent to lien to the property owner and general contractor.

Not sending an Arizona notice of intent to lien has no bearing on your lien claim since it is not required.

Mechanics Lien FAQ

An Arizona mechanics lien is an effective tool that helps make sure you will be paid for the construction materials and/or labor you supplied. It is a legal claim that guarantees payment for contractors.

 

This means that if you file a valid mechanics lien on a project you worked on in Arizona and weren’t paid for your work, you have the right to enforce the lien through a lawsuit. This enforcement action can either prompt the client to settle or force the sale of the property. The proceeds of the sale will be used to settle your unpaid bill.

With an Arizona mechanics lien, you have an interest in the improved property. When a mechanics lien is filed on the property you worked on, the property becomes collateral for uncollected payments.

Most parties who provide labor, services or materials for a construction project in Arizona pursuant to a contract may file a mechanics lien.¹

Design professionals who have a written contract with the property owner or have an oral or written contract with an architect who has a written contract with the property owner are covered by the right to lien.

Only parties who have a written contract with the owner-occupant of a property may file a lien against it.

Suppliers to suppliers cannot file an Arizona mechanics lien.

These are the steps to follow in filing an Arizona mechanics lien. 

Step 1: Ready the lien form and fill it out with all of the required information, which you can find below. A notary must acknowledge the signature of a party. Remember that notarizing the document is required in filing it. Many Arizona states are strict when it comes to the quality of the form submitted, so make sure that the copy you send is of good quality and without any unnecessary lines or images on it lest your filing be rejected.

Step 2: File the original notarized copy of the form with the clerk’s office in the county where the property is situated. 

  • The notarized form may be sent to the clerk’s office via mail or FedEx, or you can deliver it in person for recording. In some Arizona counties, you may e-record the document. 
  • If you are e-recording the lien form, the fees for filing and processing will be assessed before recording. On the recording platform, just select “Lien” and upload your lien and other required attachments. 
  • If you choose to send the lien via mail or FedEx or walking in with it, include the proper fees in your filing.

Call the county recorder to know the amount you have to pay. If you don’t pay the right amount of fees, your lien can be rejected. 

The fees are usually determined by the amount set for the first page plus the sum of the smaller amounts set for the succeeding pages. This means that the more pages you include in your filing, the higher the fee will be.  

Step 3: Ask for a stamped copy of your recorded lien. 

  • Include a self-addressed stamped envelope in your filing, along with the filing fee, in order to receive a copy of your recorded lien for you own records.

Step 4: Arizon law requires that you serve your mechanics lien on the owner of the property “within a reasonable amount of time” of filing. The best way to go about it is to serve the lien immediately.

An Arizona mechanics lien must be filed within 60 days of sending a Notice of Completion or within 120 days of project completion.² The claimant has up to 6 months after recording the lien to enforce it. 

An Arizona mechanics lien is effective for 6 months after it is filed.

Arizona requires the following pieces of information to appear on the mechanics lien form: 

  • A legal description of the lands and improvements subject to the lien
  • The name of the owner or reputed owner of the property, and the name of the person who employed the lienor and to whom materials or labor was delivered
  • If the contract is oral, a statement of the contract’s terms, time given and conditions; if it is written, a copy of the contract
  • A statement of the demand of the lienor after deducting credits and offsets
  • A statement of the date of the completion of the building or improvement, or any alteration or repair done
  • A statement of the date the 20-day Preliminary Notice was given; a copy of the notice and the proof of mailing should be attached to the lien

Arizona law dictates that a person required to have a valid license to furnish materials or labor but does not have one is not covered by lien rights.

Arizona has legislatively designed lien waiver forms which it requires claimants to use. Any lien waiver used that does not conform to the mandated design will be considered invalid.³

A lien release in Arizona is due within 20 days after the lien has been satisfied.

If a lien release is not filed within the time allowed, the lien claimant will be told to pay $1,000 and held liable to damages.

Arizona generally does not favor contingent payment clauses such as pay if paid and pay when paid ones. 

In order for these clauses to be enforceable, they must clearly and plainly state that the risk of non-payment by the owner is shifted to contractors.

References:

https://www.azleg.gov/

¹ Arizona Code Section 33-981

² Arizona Code Section 33-981

³ Arizona Code Section 33-992.01

Arizona Code Section 33-992.01

Handle.com provides answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to contractors and others who are seeking information regarding preliminary notices, intent to file, mechanics lien, and other construction questions. These are provided for informational purposes only, and we cannot provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options, selection of forms or strategies.

Arizona documents

Bond Claim

Working on a public construction project? Bond claims ensure subcontractors are paid without having to file a lien or a lawsuit against the government.

Intent to File

Show you’re serious about filing a mechanics lien without having to pay filing fees.

Mechanics Lien

Still chasing payments on a construction project? File a Mechanics Lien on the project to recoup unpaid labor and materials.

Preliminary Notice

Secure rights to file a lien and notify parties you’re on the job. Not filing a preliminary notice may result in lost revenue in case of a delinquent client.

Release of Mechanics Lien

Finally got paid? Issue a release of mechanics lien to resolve the payment dispute with finality.

Stop Payment Notice

Send a Stop Notice is a demand to ensure that payments rightfully due to subcontractors are reserved if the Prime Contractor fails to pay.

Waiver

Waivers release your right to file a mechanics lien in case of non-payment. Some have conditions so ensure you're sending the correct lien waiver type.