Construction Frequently
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Preliminary Notice FAQ

A Rhode Island preliminary notice – also known as a Notice of Possible Mechanics Lien – is a letter sent by a contractor 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.

Only parties who have a direct contract with a property owner (e.g. general contractors) are required to serve a Notice of Possible Mechanics Lien. [i]

The Notice of Possible Mechanics Lien must be served within 10 days of commencing work on a project.

You may not file a valid Rhode Island mechanics lien if you do not serve a Notice of Possible Mechanics Lien.

Intent To File FAQ

A Rhode Island notice of intent to lien is sent before you file a mechanics lien. 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 potential lien claimants in Rhode Island must serve a Notice of Intent to Lien. [ii]

In Rhode Island, a notice of intent to lien must be sent within 200 days of the date when you last furnished labor or material to a project, but before you record a mechanics lien.

Failing to send a Rhode Island notice of intent to lien will extinguish your lien rights over the project at hand.

Mechanics Lien FAQ

A Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island Mechanics Lien Laws Sections 34-28-1 to 34-28-3, all parties who perform construction or improvement work on a property can file a mechanics lien. [iii] These parties include, but are not limited to, general contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers.

A Rhode Island mechanics lien must be filed within 200 days after your last day of work. [iv] Your last day of work corresponds to the date you last furnished services or materials to the project.

A Rhode Island mechanics lien is enforceable within 40 days after filing [v]. A claimant must file a Complaint to Enforce a Lien within this period or the mechanics lien expires.

The Rhode Island mechanics lien must contain the following information [vi]:

  •     the name and address of the property owner
  •     the name and address of the party who hired you
  •     a general description of the property location sufficient for identification
  •     a general description of the services provided
  •     the name and address of the person mailing the notice

Note that a Rhode Island mechanics lien must be notarized before filing.

Yes, you need to have a valid license to practice in order to have lien rights in Rhode Island.

Both the “pay-if-paid” and “pay-when-paid” clauses are generally enforceable in Rhode Island.

References:

[i] Rhode Island Mechanics Lien Laws § 34-28-4.1

[ii] Rhode Island Mechanics Lien Laws § 34-28-4

[iii] Rhode Island Mechanics Lien Laws §§ 34-28-1 – 34-28-3

[iv] Rhode Island Mechanics Lien Laws § 34-28-4(a)

[v] Rhode Island Mechanics Lien Laws § 34-28-10

[vi] Rhode Island Mechanics Lien Laws § 34-28-4(b)

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.

Rhode Island documents

Bond Claim

Working on a public construction project? Bond claims ensure subcontractors are paid without having to file a lien or a lawsuit against the government.

Intent to File

Show you’re serious about filing a mechanics lien without having to pay filing fees.

Miller Act

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

Stop Payment Notice

Send a Stop Notice is a demand to ensure that payments rightfully due to subcontractors are reserved if the Prime Contractor fails to pay.

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.