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Preliminary Notice FAQ

A preliminary notice is a letter sent by a contractor or supplier to the property owner at the start of a project. This is to let the receiver of the notice know of the sender’s participation in the project. In many states, a preliminary notice is required to preserve lien rights.

It is typically not required to send a preliminary notice in Delaware. But you may still opt to send one to the property owner to inform them of your role in the project.

However, when you have filed a mechanics lien, called Statement of Claim in Delaware, you need to send a Notice to Lien Holders to all project participants who likewise hold a lien on the property.

Since a preliminary notice is not required in Delaware, there is no deadline for sending one should you decide to do so.

The Notice to Lien Holders is to be sent within 10 days of filing the Delaware Statement of Claim. Not sending it within this period is, however, not detrimental to your lien rights.

A preliminary notice is typically sent to the property owner as well as the general contractor, if applicable.

Not sending a Delaware preliminary notice will not affect your lien rights since it is not a requirement.

Intent To File FAQ

A Notice of Intent to Lien is a letter sent to the property owner and/or general contractor before the sender files a mechanics lien against the property they worked on.

No, sending a Notice of Intent to Lien is not required in Delaware. However, you may opt to do so as a final warning before you file a mechanics lien.

Send a Notice of Intent to Lien at least 10 days before your planned date of filing a mechanics lien to give the receiving party enough time to settle the outstanding payment.

You may send your Notice of Intent to Lien to the property owner and the general contractor, if applicable.

Since a Notice of Intent to Lien is not mandatory in Delaware, not sending one has no bearing on your right and ability to file a mechanics lien.

Mechanics Lien FAQ

A Statement of Claim, as a mechanics lien is called in Delaware, is a legal remedy for construction project participants looking to recover payment. This powerful tool represents a monetary claim by contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers and other parties seeking payment for the work they did on a property.

This claim will deter potential buyers of the property from purchasing it. The project owner will have to settle any pending payments to have the Statement of Claim cancelled. An alternative scenario is a claimant enforcing the lien if the property owner still does not pay up. This effectively puts the property on the market and the proceeds of sales will cover the payment for those who have a valid lien claim attached to the property.

A Delaware Statement of Claim gives you an interest in the property you worked on. With a valid Statement of Claim filed against it, the property is effectively collateral for unsettled payments that the property owner owes you.

Construction project participants that provide “labor or material, or both, to an amount exceeding $ 25 in or for the erection, alteration or repair of any structure” have mechanics lien rights in Delaware, according to Delaware laws.¹ They may file a Statement of Claim.

Those who provide services “in plumbing, gas fitting, paper hanging, paving, placing iron works and machinery of every kind in mills and factories, bridge building, the erection, construction and filling in of wharves, piers and docks and all improvements to land by drainage, dredging, filling in, irrigating and erecting banks and the services rendered and labor performed and materials furnished by architects” may file a mechanics lien too.

However, suppliers to suppliers as well as parties who provide rental equipment may not file a Statement of Claim.

Lien claimants are generally prohibited from including attorney’s fees in their mechanics liens. But if such inclusion is part of the agreement between the parties involved, then this may be allowed.

It depends on your role in a project. If you are a general contractor, you must file a Statement of Claim within 180 days² of the project’s completion.

If you do not have a direct contractual relationship with the property owner, you have 120 days from your last day of work to file a Statement of Claim. You may also file your claim within 120 days of the day you are due to receive your final payment, or within 120 days of the day the general contractor last received their payment.

Yes, you are required by Delaware laws to send a Notice to Lien Holders to every party who has filed a lien against the property as well as the tenants of the property who have a leasehold interest. You must send this letter via certified mail, return receipt requested.

You must also provide a Writ of Scire Facias.³ If the property has residents, leave a copy of the Writ with one of the occupants. If it is an unoccupied property, the sheriff will post a copy of the Writ where it can be easily seen.

Enforcement action is typically included in your Delaware Statement of Claim.

No, Delaware does not require lien claimants to be licensed in order to file a Delaware Statement of Claim.

It is not a requirement for your Statement of claim to be notarized. However, it must come with an affidavit stating that the information you provided is accurate and true.

No, Delaware does not prescribe a specific form for lien waivers. You can use any lien waiver form, but be careful in signing it because such a document is not regulated by the state.

References:

¹ Delaware Code 25 Del.C. § 2702
² Delaware Code 24 Del.C. § 2711
³ Delaware Code 24 Del.C. § 2714

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.

Delaware documents

Mechanics Lien

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