Commercial Quick Reference Guide

Preliminary Notices Private (Mandatory) (*Optional) Filed prior or within days of first shipment or labor.

AL Optional/prior
AK Prior
AZ 20 days
CA 20 days
FL 45 days
GA 30 days
IA 30 days
MA 30 days
MI 20 days
NV 31 days
NH Prior
NM 60 days
NC 5-10 days
OH 21 days
OK 75 days
OR 8 days
RI 120 days
SC GC 15 days SUB/MM PRIOR
UT 20 days
WA 60 days
WV Optional/prior
WY 30 days

Filed after last shipment or Labor

AR 75 days
IL 90 days
IA 30 days
KY 120 days
LA 75 days
MD 120 days
NJ 90 days
SD 60 days
TN 90 days
TX*
*15th of 2nd calendar mo.
(sale to sub.)
15th of 3rd calendar mo.
(sale to GC)
VA O/30 days
WV 100 days

Preliminary Notices (Public Liens or Bond Claims) Prior to or within first ship or labor

AZ 20 days
CA 20 days
FL 45 days
GA 30 days
LA 75 days
MI 30 days
MT 30 days
NC 75 days
NV 30 days
NJ prior
OH 21 days
UT 20 days
WA 10 days
WI 60 days
WY 60 days

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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

When dealing in the construction, alteration/repair, and improvement to real estate, the credit executive has available some unique and important tools. Even though credit is extended on an open account basis, liens can improve this position by giving a supplier direct access to real estate of an end user. This does not provide a personal guaranty from the owner, but it allows you interest in the real estate to the dollar amount of your lien claim (debt).

It is important to understand the basic terminology associated with liens, bonds, and Miller Act. For your convenience, we have listed definitions.


General Contractor (Prime Contractor) One who has a direct contractual agreement with owner of real estate. (Important to understand that a material supplier who sells product only and provides no labor direct to a property owner is classified as a General Contractor).

Sub-Contractor One who has contract direct with prime contractor (includes labor).

Sub-Sub-Contractor One who has contract direct with sub-contractor and labor is performed.

**Materialman/Material Supplier One who provides materials only (no labor). (Please note that a material supplier is generally classified as one who sells to G.C. or Sub (or party performing labor). * * A material supplier to another material supplier is excluded from the filing of liens in a majority of states.

Preliminary Notice A notice required by statute to be given to owner, G.C. and/or sub within a certain time period.

Notice of Intention A notice required by statute to be given to owner, G.C. and/or sub within certain time period. (Contains stronger language.)

Lienright The right of a creditor to file a lien.

Lien Claim/Lien Document The actual form filed and recorded against real estate.

To Perfect a Lien The complete process of notice and filing of lien claim in accordance with specific state statute.

Foreclosure Suit: Suit to enforce a mechanics lien.

Bond Claim Proper notification and correct form filed within statutory time requirements to proper parties.

Municipal Lien A statutory lien filed against available monies with a municipality to withhold payment of certain sums from contractor (Important: available funds).

Stop Notice A statutory form filed against available monies due to a contractor by owner. It binds the owner to withhold payment from contractor (Sometimes used in private and/or municipal jobs).

Private Real Estate Owned by a person or entity not connected with any government body.

1. Commercial Property -property used for trade, business, or commerce.

2. Residential Property – a factual place of abode.

Municipal Property Owned by any government body or entity.

Federal Property Owned by the United States of America.

Waiver The intentional or voluntary relinquishing of a known right.

Release Filed document relinquishing a claim of record.