The preliminary notice is one of the most important documents that construction professionals must know about. In most states, serving the required preliminary notice is key to making sure that you have your lien rights protected.
Almost all construction parties in New Mexico are required to serve a preliminary notice, also known as Notice of Right to Claim a Lien. This notice must be served within a prescribed period to ensure full coverage for your possible mechanics lien.
Read this guide to know all the pertinent details that you must keep in mind when serving a preliminary notice in New Mexico.
- New Mexico’s Notice of Right to Claim Lien
- How to serve a preliminary notice in New Mexico
- Best practices in serving a Notice of Right to Claim Lien in New Mexico
New Mexico’s Notice of Right to Claim Lien
A Notice of Right to Claim Lien is a document that notifies a property owner of a construction party’s involvement in a project. It basically informs them that you are working on their property and that you are willing to exercise your lien rights if you do not get duly paid for the work.
Note that while a preliminary notice is key to protecting your lien rights, it also allows you to open communication lines with the property owners and higher-tier parties. It is considered a good business practice to serve a preliminary notice, even when not required.
Parties required to serve a Notice of Right to Claim Lien in New Mexico
If you are a contractor, subcontractor, or material supplier whose work is worth $5,000 and you are not in direct contact with the owner, it is safe to assume that you are required to serve a preliminary notice in New Mexico.
When to serve a Notice of Right to Claim Lien in New Mexico
A Notice of Right to Claim Lien must be served within 60 days of first furnishing materials or rendering labor to a property.
What happens if you fail to serve a preliminary notice in New Mexico?
Failing to serve the preliminary notice within the 60-day window will limit the coverage of your mechanics lien. If you file after the 60-day window, you may only enforce a mechanics lien for the work that you did starting from the previous 30 days prior to serving the mechanics lien.
How to serve a preliminary notice in New Mexico
1. Prepare the Notice of Right to Claim Lien Form
The following details must be found in your New Mexico preliminary notice form:
- a description of the property or a description sufficiently specific for actual identification of the property;
- the name, address and phone number of the claimant (you)
- the name and address of the person that you contracted with or to whom you furnished labor or materials
2. Serve the preliminary notice on the appropriate parties
The Notice of Right to Claim Lien in New Mexico must be served on the property owner and the general contractor, if applicable. It must be sent via certified mail with return receipt requested, personal delivery, or by fax.
Note that if you serve the notice via certified mail, the notice is considered served on the day it was sent. If you serve the preliminary notice via fax or personal delivery, the notice is considered delivered on the day it is acknowledged by the recipient.
Also keep in mind that serving a preliminary notice by fax is allowed only in New Mexico — no other state permits the service of a preliminary notice, or any other lien-related document, via this method.
Best practices in serving a Notice of Right to Claim Lien in New Mexico
1. Prepare the New Mexico preliminary notice form early
Even if you have 60 days to serve the preliminary notice, it is still considered a best practice to prepare your Notice of Right to Claim Lien early. The details that must be included in your preliminary notice are relatively easy to put together, so make sure that you comply with the notice requirement as early as possible.
2. Document all your mailing/service records
When serving a preliminary notice, make sure that you keep all the mailing-related documents and receipts or copies of the signed acknowledgment.
The validity of a mechanics lien may be questioned based on your failure to comply with the preliminary notice requirement, so it is highly important that you keep documented proofs that you have duly served the Notice of Right to Claim Lien.
3. Ensure accuracy of the details included in your preliminary notice
A mechanics lien may also be questioned if the details included in your preliminary notice are not accurate. Make sure that you type the names and addresses correctly, and make sure that the description of the property you’re providing is sufficient for identifying the project location. If possible, try to secure the legal property description to avoid confusion.
It is very important that you get the information correctly to ensure that your lien rights are protected and that you can recover payment in the event that you do not get rightly compensated for your work.