Maryland Preliminary Notice: How to File a Notice of Intent to Lien | Handle

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Maryland Preliminary Notice: How to File a Notice of Intent to Lien

Maryland Preliminary Notice: How to File a Notice of Intent to Lien

September 18, 2020

Maryland is one of the states that require construction project participants to file a preliminary notice as part of the mechanics lien process. However, unlike in other states where the preliminary notice is served at the beginning of a project, the Maryland preliminary notice is served at the end of a project.

The Maryland preliminary notice, therefore, also acts as a Notice of Intent to Lien. It is a document that allows certain parties to preserve their lien rights and to also notify a property owner that a mechanics lien will be filed if an outstanding payment debt is not settled.

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Send a Maryland Notice of Intention to Lien in 60 seconds

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This guide walks you through the process of serving a Notice of Intent to Lien in Maryland.

Maryland Notice of Intent to Lien as preliminary notice

The Maryland Notice of Intent to Lien works the way a regular preliminary notice does in other states. It is a requirement from certain construction project participants before they are allowed to record a valid mechanics lien.

However, unlike preliminary notices in other states, a Maryland Notice of Intent to Lien is served when a claimant’s work in a project is already done. Preliminary notices in other states are usually sent before or at the start of a project.

Furthermore, like how a notice of intent to lien works in other states, a Maryland Notice of Intent to Lien notifies a property owner of a claimant’s intention to record a mechanics lien if due compensation remains unpaid.

Who must serve a Notice of Intent to Lien in Maryland?

All parties who have no direct contract with the property owner are required to serve a Notice of Intent to Lien in Maryland. These parties include, but are not limited to, subcontractors and material suppliers.

When do you serve a Maryland Notice of Intent to Lien?

The Notice of Intent to Lien in Maryland must be served within 120 days of the date when you last furnished labor or materials to a project.

Note, however, that for parties working on single-family owner-occupied residential projects, a mechanics lien is restricted to the remaining amount due to the general contractor on the day the Notice of Intent to Lien is served. Parties working on this type of project must therefore serve the Notice of Intent to Lien before an owner disburses the full payment to the general contractor.

When do you serve a Maryland Notice of Intent to Lien

On whom do you serve a Maryland Notice of Intent to Lien?

A Maryland Notice of Intent to Lien is served on the property owner via registered or certified mail with return receipt requested, or by personal delivery.

What happens if you fail to serve a Maryland Notice of Intent to Lien?

Failing to serve a Maryland Notice of Intent to Lien when required will prohibit you from filing a valid mechanics lien in Maryland.

How to file a Maryland Notice of Intent to Lien

How to file a Maryland Notice of Intent to Lien

1. Prepare the Notice of Intent to Lien form

According to MD Real Prop Code § 9-104 (2019), the following details must be on your Maryland Notice of Intent to Lien form:

  • Your name
  • A description of the property location
  • The total amount of the services performed
  • The unpaid amount
  • A brief description of the services performed
  • The dates when the services were first and last performed
  • The name of the party who hired you

The Notice of Intent to Lien must substantially be in the following form:

“Notice to Owner or Owner’s Agent of Intention to Claim a Lien

(Subcontractor) did work or furnished material for or about the building generally designated or briefly described as The total amount earned under the subcontractor’s undertaking to the date hereof is $ ……… of which $ ……… is due and unpaid as of the date hereof. The work done or materials provided under the subcontract were as follows: (insert brief description of the work done and materials furnished, the time when the work was done or the materials furnished, and the name of the person for whom the work was done or to whom the materials were furnished).

I do solemnly declare and affirm under the penalties of perjury that the contents of the foregoing notice are true to the best of the affiant’s knowledge, information, and belief.”


2. Deliver the Notice of Intent to Lien to the property owner

After filling in the Notice of Intent to Lien form, you now have to serve it on the property owner via registered or certified mail with return receipt requested. You may also serve the Maryland preliminary notice via personal delivery to the owner. If the owner may not be reached through any of these methods, you are allowed to post the Notice of Intent to Lien on the front door of the property.

Whatever method you choose, always ensure that you have the proof or documentation that you have complied with the rules. Keep a copy of the mailing receipts, get the owner to sign an acknowledgment form when you personally deliver the preliminary notice, or take a picture of the posted notice.

Also, take note of the deadline for serving the Notice of Intent to Lien. This preliminary notice must be served within 120 days of your last day of work, or else you will lose your lien rights over the project at hand.

Best practices for serving a Maryland Notice of Intent to Lien

1. Prepare the Notice of Intent to Lien early

Having a working template for a Maryland Notice of Intent to Lien is a good idea. This way, you can easily prepare your preliminary notice and serve it on time. Always remember that failing to serve the Maryland Notice of Intent to Lien within the 120-day deadline will be fatal to your lien rights if you are one of the parties required to serve this notice.

2. Include all the required information in the Notice of Intent to Lien form

A statutory form is specified under Maryland statutes, so it is best practice to simply follow that template and ensure that all the blanks are filled in. The names and addresses must be spelled correctly, and both the full amount and the unpaid amount must be included. Also specify the dates when you first and last worked on the project.

3. Do not forget to record a mechanics lien if necessary

In Maryland, the deadline for filing a mechanics lien is within 180 days after your last day of work. The Notice of Intent to Lien must be served within 120 days after this last day, so the remaining 60 days prior to the mechanics lien deadline can be spent on negotiating the payment. If negotiations fall through, be sure to record your Maryland mechanics lien before the 180-day filing period.

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