Most states require potential mechanics lien claimants to serve pre-lien notices. These notices are very important because they usually act as a prerequisite for protecting your lien rights, in addition to opening communication lines between you and the property owner.
In New Hampshire, certain construction parties have to serve a pre-lien document known as statement of account. The statement of account must be served for every month that you work on a project. This guide lays out everything you need to know about preparing and serving a New Hampshire monthly statement of account.
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- What is a New Hampshire monthly statement of account?
- Who must serve a New Hampshire monthly account statement?
- When to serve a monthly account statement in New Hampshire
- Who must receive a monthly account statement in New Hampshire?
- What happens if you fail to serve a monthly account statement in New Hampshire?
- How to serve a New Hampshire monthly account statement
- Best practices in serving a New Hampshire monthly statement of account
What is a New Hampshire monthly statement of account?
A monthly statement of account is a pre-lien document that contains a summary of the work that you provided to a project as well as the amount of payment that you are yet to receive.
Although New Hampshire mechanics lien laws do not explicitly specify that a statement of account must be sent every month, they require that the document be served “once every 30 days.” It is, therefore, best practice to make sure that you serve a statement of account in New Hampshire at least once a month, for every month that you work on a project.
Who must serve a New Hampshire monthly account statement?
All construction parties who have no direct contractual relationship with the property must serve a monthly statement of account to the property owner. These construction parties include subcontractors and material suppliers who are not supplying directly to the owner.
Note that these same parties are also required to serve a notice of intent to claim a lien in New Hampshire.
When to serve a monthly account statement in New Hampshire
The name implies that the statement of account must be served once every 30 days, or once a month, for the entire duration that you work on a project. You can set a regular schedule to serve the statement of account. There is no specific deadline or timeline to follow, so you will be compliant with New Hampshire’s lien laws as long as you serve a statement of account each month.
Who must receive a monthly account statement in New Hampshire?
A New Hampshire monthly account statement must be served on the property owner.
What happens if you fail to serve a monthly account statement in New Hampshire?
Failing to serve a monthly statement of account will not have any significant effect on your lien rights. However, note that serving a monthly account statement in New Hampshire legally obligates a property owner to retain an amount that is equal to the balance specified in your statement of account.
If, for example, your statement of account states that the general contractor owes your $10,000 for that month, the property owner who receives your document will be obligated to retain the same amount. This allows the property owner to have the funds necessary to pay your balance, in case payment issues arise and you do not receive your due compensation.
You are then encouraged to religiously serve a monthly statement of account in New Hampshire.
How to serve a New Hampshire monthly account statement
1. Prepare your statement of account form
A statement of Account in New Hampshire is very easy to prepare, as long as your books are organized. This document can be as simple as an itemized list of your invoices, including the type of services that you provided and their corresponding prices.
There is a prescribed form for the statement of account, but any document should suffice as long as it includes the following:
- The duration covered by your statement of account (e.g. January 1 to January 30)
- The list of services that you provided during that range
- The corresponding prices of those services, as listed in your invoices
- The amount that you are yet to receive
- Your name and address
- The name and address of the property owner
- The name and address of the party who hired you
Make sure that you include the balance amount, which is the payment that you are still waiting to receive. This balance will be the amount that the property owner will have to retain once they receive your statement of account.
2. Send the statement of account to the property owner
Once your New Hampshire monthly statement of account is ready, you then have to serve it on the owner. While there is no specified deadline, remember that a statement of account is a monthly recurring requirement, so you have to serve one statement of account every 30 days or every month that you work on a project.
There is also no prescribed method for serving your monthly statement of account on the property owner. You may directly deliver your account statement to the property owner or send the document via certified mail with return receipt requested.
Either way, you must keep proof that you have served the account statement. If you deliver the New Hampshire statement of account directly to the property owner, make sure that you get them to sign an acknowledgment of receipt form. If you serve the document via mail, make sure that you keep all mailing records.
Best practices in serving a New Hampshire monthly statement of account
1. Follow a regular schedule
It is best practice to follow a regular monthly schedule for sending your statement of account to the property owner. This could fall on the first date of the month in every month that you work on a project, or on any other day as long as you stick to this one schedule.
2. Keep all your invoices organized
Preparing the statement of account is not difficult if your invoices are properly organized. It is best practice to have an electronic record of all your invoices. If you have a streamlined process for monitoring your invoices and tracking which ones have been paid and which are not, getting your statement of account ready for every month of work will not be a tedious task.
3. Document all service records
You are allowed to deliver your New Hampshire account statements in person or mail them to the property owner. Whichever service method you choose, you have to ensure that you keep all documented proofs of service. Have your acknowledgment of receipt signed by the recipient of the document. If you choose to mail your statement of account, the best way to do so is to do it via certified mail with return receipt requested.