Before you record a mechanics lien, it is a good idea to first notify a property owner and give them an ultimatum. Most owners would be wary about having a mechanics lien filed against their property, and they would rather settle a payment debt than taint their property’s records.
In Ohio, parties may send a Notice of Intent to Lien to warn a property owner about their plans. Sending this notice gives the property owner a chance to settle the outstanding debts and to sort out the payment dispute before it gets escalated.
This guide discusses how you can serve a Notice of Intent to Lien in Ohio.
Who must send an Ohio Notice of Intent to Lien?
Technically, no party is required to send a Notice of Intent to Lien in Ohio. This is an optional notice that is highly recommended to potential lien claimants who are looking to get paid without having to go through the mechanics lien process.
Even though serving a Notice of Intent to Lien is not mandatory in Ohio, you are strongly advised to serve this pre-lien notice.
When do you send an Ohio Notice of Intent to Lien?
You may send an Ohio Notice of Intent to Lien at any time prior to recording a mechanics lien. Ideally, you can give a 10-day warning to the property owner, which means that you should send them an Ohio Notice of Intent at least 10 days before filing a mechanics lien.
What happens if you fail to send a Notice of Intent to Lien in Ohio?
You face no lien-related consequences for failing to send a Notice of Intent in Ohio. This notice is optional, but it can be highly beneficial as far as getting paid is concerned.
How to send a Notice of Intent to Lien in Ohio
1. Prepare the Notice of Intent to Lien form
Ohio does not have a statutory form for a Notice of Intent to Lien. In general, you may include the following details in the form:
- Your name and address
- The name and address of the owner
- The name and address of the party who hired you
- A description of the services you provided
- The amount to be claimed in a mechanics lien
- A clear warning stating that you will be filing a mechanics lien in 10 days if the amount is left unpaid
Note that writing a specific timeline is important as gives the property owner a deadline by which they must pay you. It is also just as important to clearly state your intentions of filing a mechanics lien.
You must be very explicit about your plans to file a mechanics lien if the outstanding debt does not get settled.
2. Deliver the Notice of Intent to Lien
You may send the Notice of Intent to Lien to the property owner and the general contractor, and even the party who hired you. There is no right or wrong method for delivering this pre-lien notice. You could serve it via certified mail, or you could also personally hand it over to the owner.
Be sure to track when and how you served the Notice of Intent. If possible, get the owner to sign an acknowledgment of receipt if you are serving the Notice of Intent in person.
While there is no strict deadline for serving a Notice of Intent to Lien in Ohio, it must be served before the deadline for filing an Ohio mechanics lien expires.
Best practices for sending an Ohio Notice of Intent to Lien
1. Make it a common practice to send a Notice of Intent to Lien
Sending a Notice of Intent to Lien can be enough to get you paid without having to file a mechanics lien. Recording a mechanics lien in Ohio can be time-consuming since there are plenty of rules to follow, so if you can get an owner to release your payment by giving them an ultimatum, you definitely should.
2. Serve a Notice of Intent even if you failed to send a preliminary notice
Say, you did not serve a Notice of Furnishing in Ohio so you effectively lost your lien rights. Even though you may not file a valid mechanics lien, you can still serve a Notice of Intent to remind an owner about the payment dispute. The property owner could step in and get you paid without your having to record an official mechanics lien.
3. File an Ohio mechanics lien if payment dispute ensues
If you have successfully preserved your lien rights and you still do not get paid even after serving a Notice of Intent in Ohio, file an Ohio mechanics lien. A mechanics lien is the best payment recovery tool in construction. If payment dispute ensures, be ready to meet the requirements for serving a valid mechanics lien in Ohio.