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Preliminary Notice FAQ

A Utah preliminary notice is a letter sent by a contractor or supplier before and/or at the start of a construction project, depending on the services they provide. A project participant must file a Notice of Retention if they are providing pre-construction services in order to be eligible to file a pre-construction lien. Those providing construction services must file a preliminary notice as a requirement for filing a construction lien.

Note that Utah is one of the states,along with Pennsylvania, Iowa and North Carolina, that have a registry for lien-related notices. In Utah, all preliminary notices must be filed in the State Construction Registry.

Whether you are providing pre-construction or construction services, you are required to file a preliminary notice in the State Construction Registry. If you are furnishing pre-construction services, in particular, you must send a Notice of Retention.

File your Utah preliminary notice in the State Construction Registry.

If you are providing pre-construction services, file your Notice of Retention within 20 days of your first day of work.(i)

If you are furnishing construction services, send your preliminary notice within 20 days of your first day of work. You must file it within 10 days of the filing of a Notice of Completion; if filed later than this period, your preliminary notice will not be effective.

All Utah preliminary notices must be filed in the State Construction Registry.

Failing to file a Utah Notice of Retention when required will invalidate a pre-construction lien.

Not sending a preliminary notice on time when required will not automatically be fatal to construction lien rights. However, if sent late, the coverage of the notice will not start until five days after its filing. For example, if your deadline for filing is July 5 and you sent your notice on July 15, your lien rights are intact only for the period starting July 20.

If a Notice of Completion is filed and you fail to send your preliminary notice within 10 days, your notice will not be able to preserve your lien rights.

Intent To File FAQ

A Utah notice of intent to lien is a letter sent to the property owner before filing a mechanics lien becomes necessary. As the name says, it lets the receiver know of the sender’s intention to file a mechanics lien due to a payment dispute.

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 encourage property owners to pay them.

No construction party is required to send a notice of intent to lien in Utah. However, it is still advisable to send one because doing so often encourages property owners to settle payment disputes before a mechanics lien becomes necessary.

Since a notice of intent to lien is not required in Utah, there is no strict deadline for sending one. You can send your intent notice at least 10 days before your planned date of filing a mechanics lien to give the property owner enough time to settle your payment.

Not sending a Utah Notice of Intent to Lien will not affect your lien rights since it is not a strict requirement in the state.

Mechanics Lien FAQ

A Utah mechanics lien is a legal claim that guarantees payment for contractors, subcontractors, materials suppliers and laborers. Construction participants can file this claim against the property they worked on if they were not paid according to what is stated in their contract.

A valid mechanics lien attached to a property will dissuade potential buyers from purchasing it because of the debt linked to it. This will then compel the property owner to settle the payment dispute. If the property owner still refuses to pay, the claimant has 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 the unpaid bill.

In Utah, there are two types of mechanics liens: pre-construction liens and construction liens. Pre-construction liens are filed by parties providing pre-construction services, while construction liens are filed by those furnishing construction services.

Utah has a fairly wide mechanics lien coverage. Contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers and equipment lessors all have lien rights in the state.(ii) Providers of pre-construction services such as surveying, planning and design professionals can file a mechanics lien too, and so can suppliers to suppliers so long as their contributions to a project can be determined.

However, parties who provided services to a project which do not contribute to its “improvement” cannot file a mechanics lien in Utah.

The deadline for filing a mechanics lien in Utah depends on the type of lien.

Those filing a pre-construction lien must file a Notice of Pre-Construction Lien within 90 days of the completion of the pre-construction services.

Those filing a construction lien must file a Notice of Construction Lien within 90 days of the filing of a Notice of Completion.(iii) If a Notice of Completion is not filed, the Notice of Pre-Construction Lien must be filed within 180 days within the completion of the original contract.

A Utah mechanics lien must be filed in the recorder office in the county where the project is located.

Yes, you need to deliver or mail a copy of the Utah mechanics lien, whether for pre-construction or construction services, within 30 days of filing it in the county recorder office.

In Utah, a lien claimant has 180 days to enforce a pre-construction or construction lien after filing it.
However, if a property files for bankruptcy within this 180-day period, an enforcement action must be taken within 90 days of the expiration or lifting of the bankruptcy automatic stay(iv).

A lien claimant must also record a lis pendens in the county recorder office where the mechanics lien was filed within the 180-day period.

Utah has legislatively designed lien waiver forms that it requires lien claimants to use. Any waiver that is not approved by the law will be considered invalid.

You don’t have to have a license for the work that you performed in a project to be eligible to file a mechanics lien. However, it is advised that you take on only work that you are licensed to perform.

References:

(i) UT Code § 38-1a-401 (2019)

(ii) UT Code § 38-1a-301 (2018)

(iii) UT Code § 38-1a-701 (2018)

(iv) UT Code § 38-1a-701 (2019)

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.

Utah documents

Mechanics Lien

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

Miller Act

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