Construction Frequently
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Preliminary Notice FAQ

A New York 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.

New York does not require any preliminary notice from any construction participant. However, you can choose to send one as an uncostly way to let the property owner know of your participation in their project. 

Since sending a preliminary notice is not required in the state, you can use any form that contains your and the property owner’s basic information pertinent to the project.

Since this notice is not required in New York, there is no consequence for not sending it.

Intent To File FAQ

A New York 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, it is not required to send a notice of Intent to lien in New York, but you can still send one in order to advise the receiving party that you intend to file a lien in case of any outstanding payment.

Send a New York notice of intent to lien time before filing a mechanics lien.

Send your New York notice of intent to lien to the property owner.

Not sending a New York notice of intent to lien has no bearing on your lien claim as it is not required.

Mechanics Lien FAQ

A New York 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 security interest 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 New York 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.

In New York, those who can file a mechanics lien are every “contractor, subcontractor, laborer, materialman, landscape gardener, nurseryman or person or corporation selling fruit or ornamental trees, roses, shrubbery, vines and small fruits, who performs labor or furnishes materials for the improvement of real property.” ¹

Here’s how to go about filing your New York mechanics lien. Remember that if the property is in two counties, the document must be filed with the county clerk of each of the counties. 

Step 1: Prepare your lien form. Make sure to include all the required information as specified below. 

The information stated in the document must be verified by you or your agent. If your agent is signing the lien for you, furnish an “authority to sign” document. 

Step 2: If you participated in the project in your capacity as an engineer or architect, provide your license number in your claim. 

Step 3: Send the mechanics lien to the county clerk(s) via mail or FedEx. You may also walk in with it for recording. In some counties in New York, there’s also the option to have your mechanics lien e-recorded. Just upload your document to the electronic recorder system and follow the prompt.

Note: In your filing, include the proper recording fee(s). You may inquire about this with the county clerk before sending, uploading, or walking in with your document. If you do not include the right fee in your filing, your mechanics lien may get rejected. 

Step 4: Receive a copy of your recorded lien by including a stamped self-addressed envelope in your filing. Keep this copy for your own records.

New York mechanics liens should be filed within 8 months of contract completion or the date on which work or materials were last supplied for it.² 

An exception is for single-family residences, where the period is shortened to 4 months after contract completion or the last day of providing work or materials.

A New York mechanics lien is effective for one year after its filing. The lien should be enforced within this period.³

You can renew your mechanics lien possibly more than once.

A New York mechanics lien is required to bear all the information outlined below. If some of the items are missing, or if there are mistakes, the lien can get invalidated. 

  • The name and address of the claimant; if the claimant is a partnership or a corporation, its business address, the names of the partners, and the principal place of business; if the claimant is a foreign corporation, its principal place of business in New York
  • The name and address of the claimant’s lawyer, if any
  • The name of the owner or reputed owner of the property the mechanics lien is subject to
  • The name of claimant’s employer or the person with whom the claimant contracted
  • The work and materials supplied for the project and their stated value, or the materials made for but not delivered to the project and their stated value
  • The amount not paid to the claimant
  • The first and last times the claimant supplied work and materials for the project
  • A description of the property for identification, along with its address if known
  • A verification by the claimant or his or her agent with regards to the truth of the pieces of information provided

To file a mechanics lien in New York, you need to have a license to do the work you did on the property if it is required. You also need to be authorized to engage in business in the state. Without these, your lien will be invalidated.

New York has no legislatively designed lien waiver forms. This means you can use any such form.

Furthermore, contractors and suppliers in New York are not allowed to waive their lien rights in contract.⁴

Pay-if-paid clauses are not enforceable in New York. Pay-when-paid clauses are enforceable as a timing mechanism for payment.


¹ NY Lien Law Section 3 

² NY Lien Law Section 10

³ NY Lien Law Section 17 

NY Lien Law Section 34 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.

New York documents

Mechanics Lien

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