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Preliminary Notice FAQ

A Missouri 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.

A number of preliminary notices must be sent in Missouri before a mechanics lien can be filed. 

 

All parties contracting directly with the owner of the property, with the exception of architects, must give the property owner a disclosure notice before receiving any payments from the owner. 

 

All parties not contracting directly with the owner of an owner-occupied residential project must have the general contractor obtain a consent of owner document, signed by the owner of the property. Failure to perform this step will result in the loss of the lien rights of those who don’t have a direct contractual relationship with the owner. 

 

Lessors lending their equipment for a commercial project where the rental fee is above $5,000 must give the property owner a notice stating that the equipment is being used on the property. The notice must be given within 15 business days of the start of the use of the equipment. 

 

If the owner of a residential property files a notice of intended sale, all potential lien claimants are required to file a notice of lien rights with the county recorder of deeds no later than 5 days before the transfer.

Failure to send all required notices will lead to a mechanics lien’s invalidation.

Intent To File FAQ

A Missouri 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.

All lien claimants other than the general contractor are required to send a Notice of Intent to Lien to the owner no later than 10 days before the lien is recorded.

Mechanics Lien FAQ

A Missouri 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 successfully filed Missouri 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.

Primary contractors, subcontractors, laborers, suppliers of materials, equipment lessors, architects, engineers, and surveyors are covered by lien rights in Missouri.¹

Equipment lessors can file a mechanics lien only if the claim is on a commercial project and is over $5,000.

For residential projects that have four units or fewer and are owner-occupied, only those with a direct contract with the owner can file a mechanics lien. There are exceptions when the owner signs a consent of owner document which states that subcontractors and suppliers have lien rights.

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

An equipment lessor’s mechanics lien is due within 60 days after removing the last piece of equipment from the property.

A Missouri mechanics lien expires if the time required to enforce it (6 month after filing) lapses without action from the claimant.

A Missouri mechanics lien must include the following information:

 

  • The name of the lienor
  • A statement of the demand after all credits have been given
  • A description of the property subject to the lien
  • The identity of the property owner
  • The name of the direct contractor. 

For residential properties, a “just and true account” requirement must be satisfied. To do this, the following must be given.

  • A photocopy of the file-stamped notice of rights as well as all renewals of notice of rights recorded by the claimant
  • The name and address of the person or entity who contracted with the claimant
  • A copy of the contract, purchase orders or proposals (agreements) and all agreed change orders or modifications to the agreements
  • A general description of the claimant’s work on the property if any written agreement is not available
  • All invoices submitted by the claimant
  • A statement of account showing all payments against amounts due to the claimant for work done on the property and the basis for the amount claimed in the mechanics lien 
  • The date the claimant last furnished labor, materials or equipment for the project
  • A file-stamped copy of the claimant’s notice of rights attached to the claimant’s mechanics lien statement if filed with the circuit clerk

No, you don’t need a license for the work you did in a project to file a Missouri mechanics lien.

Missouri has legislatively designed lien waiver forms which it requires all parties to use. Using a form that does conform to the design will invalidate a lien. 

In Missouri, it is not allowed to use lien waivers “in anticipation of and in consideration for the awarding of a contract or subcontract to perform work or supply materials for an improvement upon real property.”³

When a mechanics lien debt has been settled, the lienor must release the lien within 10 days whether or not the paying party requested it. Failure to do so within this period can lead to civil liability. 

The lien release should be filed with the same office where the lien was recorded.

Pay if paid clauses are enforceable in Missouri as long as they are clearly and unambiguously written. 

Pay when paid clauses are enforceable if framed as requiring payment within a reasonable period.

References:

http://revisor.mo.gov

Missouri Construction Lien Law

¹ Vernon’s Annotated Missouri Statutes Section 429.010

² Vernon’s Annotated Missouri Statutes Section 429.080

³ Vernon’s Annotated Missouri Statutes Section 429.005

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.