Construction Frequently
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Preliminary Notice FAQ

A Kentucky 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.

There are a few preliminary notices required in Kentucky.

A Notice of Contract is provided to protect the lien of claimants in relation to mortgages or conveyances. 

If a contract for a non-owner-occupied project is $1,000 dollars or less, subcontractors and suppliers must send a Notice to Owner.

If a contract for a non-owner-occupied project is above $1,000 dollars, subcontractors and suppliers must send a Notice to Owner.

The notice is also required if the project is an owner-occupied residential property.

If a contract is $1,000 dollars or less, subcontractors and suppliers must send a Notice to Owner within 75 days of last providing labor or materials.

If a contract is above $1,000 dollars, subcontractors and suppliers must send a Notice to Owner within 120 days of last providing labor or materials.

If the project is an owner-occupied residential property, the notice is due within 75 days of last providing labor or materials.

Prime contractors are not required to send a preliminary notice.

Failing to send a Notice to Owner within the required period can invalidate a mechanics lien. 

There is no deadline set for a Notice of Contract, and it is effective only in the existence of conveyances and mortgages.

Intent To File FAQ

A Kentucky 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, a notice of intent to lien is not required in Kentucky. Nevertheless, you can send this notice to remind the property owner of an outstanding payment.

You can send a Kentucky notice of intent to lien at least 10 days before filing a mechanics lien to give the property owner enough time to settle the payment before a mechanics lien becomes necessary.

Not sending a notice of intent to lien in Kentucky will not affect your lien rights since it is not required in the state.

Mechanics Lien FAQ

A Kentucky 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 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 a valid Kentucky 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 involved in construction are protected by Kentucky lien rights.  They include prime contractors, subcontractors, sub-subcontractors, material suppliers, and equipment lessors. Also covered are licensed design professionals who have a direct contractual relationship with the owner, such as architects, engineers, surveyors.¹  

Suppliers to suppliers, however, do not have lien rights.

A Kentucky mechanics lien must be filed within 6 months after last furnishing labor or materials.²

A Kentucky mechanics lien is required to be enforced within 12 months after filing. If this period lapses without any action to enforce by the claimant, the lien expires.

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

  • The name and address of the claimant
  • The amount due to the claimant
  • A “sufficiently accurate” description of the property subject to the lien
  • The name of the owner of the property
  • A statement indicating the identity of the person the claimant has a contract with, i.e. the owner, prime contractor or a subcontractor

Design professionals such as architects, engineers, and surveyors must have a license in order to file a mechanics lien in Kentucky. All other parties are not required to have a license to have lien rights.

Any lien waiver form may be used since Kentucky does not have legislatively designed lien waiver forms.

Contractors and suppliers cannot waive their lien rights before any work commences.

A Kentucky mechanics lien should be canceled within 30 days of receiving a written request from the notifying party.

In Kentucky, pay if paid clauses are enforceable if they are clearly and unambiguously stated. Pay when paid clauses are enforceable and establish a reasonable timing for payment.

References:

https://codes.findlaw.com

Kentucky Code

¹ Kentucky Code Section 376.010

² Kentucky Code Section 376.075

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.