Construction Frequently
Asked Questions.

Please check the following FAQ's below to find the answers to common questions

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Preliminary Notice FAQ

A Hawaii preliminary notice is a letter sent by a contractor, laborer 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.

You are not expected to serve a preliminary notice in Hawaii, but you may still send one before or as soon as you begin working on a project.

Your lien rights are not affected if you do not send a Hawaii preliminary notice.

Intent To File FAQ

A Hawaii 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, sending a Notice of Intent to Lien is not a requirement for any construction participant in Hawaii.

In Hawaii, a notice of intent to lien may be sent 10 days before filing a mechanics lien, even if it is not required to do so. It advises the owner of your intention to record a lien if the payment is not satisfied.

Failing to send a Hawaii Notice of Intent to Lien has no direct effect on your lien rights.

Mechanics Lien FAQ

A Hawaii 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 can effectively recover payment for contractors and suppliers.

This means that if you file a valid mechanics lien in Hawaii and you do not get 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.

According to Hawaii Revised Statutes 507-42, parties who provide labor or materials for the improvement of a real property have lien rights [i]. These parties include, but are not limited to, general contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers.

A Hawaii mechanics lien must be filed within 45 days after completion of work. Completion of work corresponds to the date the Notice of Completion has been filed, or the date one year after actual completion or abandonment, if no Notice of Completion has been filed. [ii]

A Hawaii mechanics lien is enforceable within 3 months after the entry of the Order Directing Lien to Attach in court [iii]. A claimant must therefore enforce a mechanics lien within this period or the mechanics lien expires.

If your profession requires a license to work in Hawaii, you need to have a valid license to have lien rights in the state.

Once a lien has been settled, a lienor must file a discharge of lien in the county circuit court where the original mechanics lien was filed [v]. There is no specific deadline on filing a discharge of lien.

The “pay-if-paid” clause may be enforceable if the clause is clearly stated. There is currently no Hawaii court that has considered the validity of the “pay-when-paid” clause.

References:

[i] Hawaii Revised Statutes § 507-42

[ii] Hawaii Revised Statutes § 507-43

[iii] Hawaii Revised Statutes § 507-43(e)

[iv] Hawaii Revised Statutes § 507-43(a)

[v] Hawaii Revised Statutes § 507-45

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.

Hawaii documents

Miller Act

The Miller Act protects the rights of subcontractors working on or who have worked on government projects.

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.