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West Virginia Preliminary Notice: Why It’s Good to Send One

West Virginia Preliminary Notice: Why It’s Good to Send One

October 9, 2020

Serving a preliminary notice on the property owner benefits a potential lien claimant in many ways. In fact, delivering a preliminary notice is required in many states before a construction participant can record a mechanics lien.

But even in states where serving a preliminary notice is not mandatory, handing a notice to the property is still strongly recommended. Doing so establishes a communication line between you and the owner, and it helps them keep track of which parties are working on their project. Payment disputes may be avoided as long as all parties are in constant communication with each other.

Send a Preliminary Notice in West Virginia in 60 Seconds

Send a Preliminary Notice in West Virginia in 60 Seconds

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This guide will discuss how you can serve a preliminary notice in West Virginia. This document is not mandatory in the state, but it is still definitely considered good business practice to send it.

Why send a West Virginia preliminary notice?

1. It demonstrates professionalism and business knowledge.

It is a common misconception among contractors that serving a preliminary notice is like threatening a property owner with a potential lien claim. That is not the case. A preliminary notice actually informs the property owner of the possibility of having to pay twice in case a general contractor fails to distribute payment among lower-tier contractors. By serving a preliminary notice, you demonstrate professionalism and knowledge of the construction business.

2. It establishes communication lines between you and the property owner.

Sometimes it is difficult for lower-tier contractors to communicate with the property owners, especially when payment disputes come up. When you serve a preliminary notice, you establish a communication line early on during a project. If payment issues arise, communicating with the property owners will be easier as they already know who you are.

3. It can speed up the payment process.

In large-scale projects, property owners may find it difficult to track the payments for all project participants. In order for the property owner to know that you are part of their project, you can serve a preliminary notice stating your role, the services that you offer, and the contract amount that you are expecting to earn in exchange for your services. If the property owners know about you, you can get paid quicker.

Who must serve a preliminary notice in West Virginia?

No construction participant is technically required to serve a preliminary notice in West Virginia. It is an optional document that you can serve to establish communication lines with the property owner at the beginning of a new project.

When do you serve a West Virginia preliminary notice?

You may choose to serve a West Virginia preliminary notice before starting work on a project. Even though the preliminary notice is not a requirement in West Virginia, state laws usually require those who choose to serve this notice to do so at the start of providing any work or material to a project.

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What happens if you fail to serve a West Virginia preliminary notice?

You will face no lien-related consequences if you do not serve a West Virginia preliminary notice. Still, you are strongly encouraged to serve a preliminary notice, especially if you are a lower-tier contractor with no direct contract with the property owner.

How to serve a West Virginia preliminary notice

How to send a West Virginia preliminary notice

1. Prepare the West Virginia preliminary notice form

Your West Virginia preliminary notice should include the following details:

  • Your name and address
  • The name of the party who contracted with you
  • The name of the property owner
  • The project property description that is sufficient for identification
  • The contract amount or a reasonable estimate of the worth of your services

Your preliminary notice must include a statement saying that if you do not get paid for your services, you will communicate with the property owner for payment.

2. Serve the preliminary notice

Once your West Virginia preliminary form is ready and signed, you can now serve the document on the property owner. Service may be done via personal delivery or certified mail with return receipt requested.

It is a good idea to keep your own copy of the preliminary notice that you served. You can go back to this preliminary notice in case payment disputes come up, and you can reach out to the property owner by referencing the preliminary notice that you sent them.

Best practices for serving a West Virginia preliminary notice

1. Serve the preliminary notice even if not required

Serving a preliminary notice is one of the best things you can do to establish a communication line between you and the property owner, especially if you do not have a direct contractual relationship with them. Even if serving a preliminary notice is not required, it is in your best interest to have a relationship with the owner as it can help you get paid faster.

2. Remember to serve the preliminary notice as soon as you start doing work on the project

Serving a preliminary notice in West Virginia is not required, but if you decide to do so, send it at the start of your work on a project. Be sure to prepare your preliminary notice early by gathering the basic details such as the name and address of the property owner.

3. File a West Virginia mechanics lien if a payment dispute comes up

If payment issues arise, remember to record a West Virginia mechanics lien against the property that you worked on. A mechanics lien is very effective in recovering payment from non-paying clients. A preliminary notice does not bind the owner to pay you, but a mechanics lien can urge them to settle the payment debt.

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