Keeping up with when to send preliminary notices and who to send them to can be a huge headache in any state, and this includes our friends up in the Pacific Northwest in the beautiful state of Washington. Making this huge headache even worse are the further complications stemming from the role you play on the job and the type project it is.
Washington State Subcontractors Loophole
Generally, any construction company working on a private construction project in Washington who did not contract directly with the property owner – and this will obviously include most subcontractors – will need to send a Notice to Owner. Those who did contract directly with the owner will need to send a Model Disclosure Statement only if the work meets certain criteria.
But here’s the loophole: Subcontractors are not required to send a preliminary notice for any labor provided on a project.
1. If you only provided labor, your lien rights are protected even if you do not send a preliminary notice.
2. If you only provided materials, you’ll need to send notice for everything you provided or you won’t be able to file a valid mechanics lien down the line.
3. If you provide both labor and materials, you’ll at least need to send notice for the materials portion of your work. If you don’t, any future liens you may need to file will only cover the labor you’ve provided.
The Catch (there’s always a catch)
There’s just one catch to this loophole. Whether you’re providing labor or materials or both, if you’re hired by the property owner then you may still need to send a Model Disclosure Statement.
It’s a relief to know you still have options in Washington state if these notice deadlines passed you by, but sending a preliminary notice even when it’s not required is never a bad idea.
If you want to hear more about why sending preliminary notices on all of your projects is such a good idea, listen to this short video featuring ‘Al,’ a subcontractor with decades of experience who knows a thing or 2 about how to get paid.