Serve a North Dakota Notice of Intent to Lien: Deadlines and Requirements | Handle

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Serve a North Dakota Notice of Intent to Lien: Deadlines and Requirements

Serve a North Dakota Notice of Intent to Lien: Deadlines and Requirements

November 3, 2020

A Notice of Intent to Lien is a construction document that notifies a property owner that you are about to record a mechanics lien. It serves as a warning that gives the owner a chance to settle the outstanding payment before a mechanics lien is filed against their property.

In most states, serving a Notice of Intent to Lien is not mandatory. In North Dakota, however, delivering a notice of intent to the property owner is a very important step; doing so is required before any potential lien claimant can record a valid North Dakota mechanics lien.

This guide answers all relevant questions about serving a North Dakota Notice of Intent to Lien.

Who must serve a Notice of Intent in North Dakota?

All potential lien claimants are obligated by law to serve on the property owner a North Dakota Notice of Intent to Lien. These claimants include general contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers. Before you record a mechanics lien, you must serve a Notice of Intent regardless of your position in the contracting chain.

When do you serve a North Dakota Notice of Intent?

The North Dakota Notice of Intent to Lien must be served on the owner of the property at least 10 days prior to recording the mechanics lien.

Note that the deadline for filing a North Dakota mechanics lien is in 90 days after your last day of work. Your Notice of Intent must therefore be served no later than 10 days before this 90-day deadline.

When do you serve a North Dakota Notice of Intent

What happens if you fail to serve a North Dakota Notice of Intent?

Failing to serve a Notice of Intent will limit the amount that you can record on a mechanics lien. Lower-tier contractors (e.g. subcontractors, suppliers) will only be allowed to claim an amount based on the unpaid balance to the general contractor. If the property owner has already released the full payment to the general contractor, lower-tier contractors will not have lien rights.

Also note that if you do not serve a Notice of Intent, parties who purchase the property will not be liable with regards to your mechanics lien. Your lien may therefore have no effect against a property once it gets sold.

How to serve a North Dakota Notice of Intent

How to serve a North Dakota Notice of Intent

1. Prepare the North Dakota Notice of Intent form

North Dakota laws do not strictly specify which pieces of information must be included in your Notice of Intent, as long as the notice clearly states that a mechanics lien will be claimed. However, it is best practice to include the following information:

  • Your name and address
  • The property owner’s name and address
  • A description of the property location sufficient for identification
  • A description of the labor and materials you furnished to the project
  • The unpaid amount to be claimed with a mechanics lien

Remember to include a clear statement saying that your mechanics lien will be recorded if the outstanding debt remains unpaid within 10 days.

2. Serve the Notice of Intent

The Notice of Intent to Lien in North Dakota form must be served on the property owner via certified mail. It is best to choose the return receipt option so you can track if your notice has been received by the property owner.

It is very important to keep in mind that, in North Dakota, a Notice of Intent to Lien is considered sent when the property owner actually receives the document. Keep this in mind when deciding when to send your Notice of Intent.

Also remember that the Notice of Intent must be served (received by the property owner) at least 10 days before a North Dakota mechanics lien is recorded. Because the deadline for filing a mechanics lien in North Dakota is in 90 days after your last day of work, the Notice of Intent must be served within 80 days of the date when you last furnished labor or materials to a project.

Best practices for serving a North Dakota Notice of Intent

1. Serve a North Dakota Notice of Intent to Lien early

Timing is very important when serving a Notice of Intent in North Dakota. This is because a notice of intent is considered served only when the property owner actually receives your document. You should therefore serve the notice of intent early to ensure that you have enough time to record a valid mechanics lien.

2. Be clear with your intention to record a mechanics lien

While there are no strict requirements as to what detail should be written on your Notice of Intent to Lien, it must at least explicitly state that you are intending to record a mechanics lien. Be sure to clearly state your intention to file a lien; otherwise, your North Dakota Notice of Intent may be invalidated.

3. Record a North Dakota mechanics lien if payment issues ensue

A Notice of Intent is only a pre-lien notice, so it is not the same as the actual mechanics lien. If you do not receive your payment in 10 days after serving the owner a Notice of Intent to Lien, be ready to record a mechanics lien. A mechanics lien is arguably the best way to recover your payment if you find yourself in the middle of a difficult payment dispute.

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