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Liens and Notice Requirements

On Behalf of | Jun 14, 2024 | Firm News

In order to preserve lien rights, contractors in Washington State are required to provide notice to property owners under certain conditions. Various requirements exist based on the nature of the property as well as the type of contractor involved. In situations where the contractor has performed repair, alteration, or construction of a residential building with four units or fewer, or the repair, alteration or construction of a commercial building where the contract price for the work done is greater than $1,000, but less than $60,000, in order to preserve lien rights, the contractor must provide a “Notice to Customer.” This notice is intended to provide a warning to owners, prior to performance of the work, that their property may be liened if payment is not made. Language for this type of notice is provided in the applicable statute (RCW 18.27.114). Residential buildings with five or more units are considered commercial property for the purposes of this section.

In addition to giving the Notice to the customer, the contractor must obtain a signed copy from the owner and retain a copy of the signed notice for three years. The Washington Department of Labor and Industries has authority to request production of the Notice.
There are no requirements as to how the Notice must be delivered to the customer, but it must be received by the customer in order to preserve lien rights. Timing of the Notice is also important, as it must be given before the start of work. Failure to provide notice prevents the contractor from bringing suit to enforce the lien.

In our next article, we will discuss the notice that the prime contractor must provide to their subcontractors, as well as the required Notice to Owner from subcontractors.