Sending the appropriate preliminary notices at the right time, by the right method, and to the right parties, can be crucial to retaining mechanics lien rights and securing payment on a construction project. These rules can be confusing and complex, but in most cases, if there is a preliminary notice, one of the parties that must receive it is the property owner.
Preliminary notice requirements were developed to benefit project owners by providing them with important information, such as the identities of all the companies working on the project. This information was to help the owner avoid mechanics liens, by making sure the parties who could claim a lien on the project were known so the owner could appropriately control payment and gather lien waivers.
Because of this, there are strict requirements related to how the notice must be sent to the property owner (and other required parties). But, where should the notice be sent? This may seem straightforward, but there are a few potential complications:
- What if an owner has more than one address?
- What if the owner is a business with multiple locations (or, no locations) within the project state?
Here’s another, “weird owner address” scenario that we recently wrote about: How to Send Preliminary Notices if the Property Owner Lives Outside of the U.S.
A brief discussion of what happens when the property owner has multiple addresses can be found below.
Property Owner Has Multiple Addresses – Which Should I Pick?
Since strict compliance with the statutory requirements is crucial to maintaining lien rights, deciding where a preliminary notice must be sent is important. In many cases, the appropriate location to which to send the notice is spelled out by the statute itself. For example in California, California Civil Code Sec. 8108 holds:
“Except as otherwise provided by this part, notice under this part shall be given to the person to be notified at the person’s residence, the person’s place of business, or at any of the following addresses:
(a) If the person to be notified is an owner other than a public entity, the owner’s address shown on the direct contract, the building permit, or a construction trust deed.”
So, accordingly, in California it appears that delivery to any of the following addresses would be sufficient:
- Place of business
- Address on direct contract, building permit, or construction trust deed.
This means that a property owner with multiple addresses can likely be given notice at any one of those addresses, provided they match the statutory requirements.
This statutory help isn’t limited to California, many other states provide helpful information about where a party can be provided notice. Address requirements such as the “last known address,” the address on the construction permit, or the address on the direct contract all make appearances.
If the statute doesn’t set forth the preferred location to which notice should be sent (or even if it does and you want to cover all bases), notice can be sent to the addresses that you know. While this is overkill – no statute requires notice be sent to every possible address of the owner – it can be relatively cheap insurance to help you sleep better, even if not required.
Gathering important project information is one of the biggest obstacles when it comes to sending out correct preliminary notices. Find out how an insulation contractor in California used zlien to overcome this industry-wide challenge.
Generally, sending the notice to the property owner’s residence if an individual, or principal place of business (or registered agent) if a business should be sufficient. Further, the mailing address of the owner associated with the tax assessment of the property is likely a sufficient address for providing notice.
It boils down to this – the notice doesn’t need to go to every address of the owner, and a sufficient address is generally set out by the statutes of the project state. However, if you don’t mind the postage costs, you can send notice to as many addresses as you like if it helps you worry less. As John Lennon famously said: “whatever gets you through the night, it’s alright.”