LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney George William Wolff

20 Day Preliminary Notice Requirements for Contractors and Subcontractors on California Construction

20 DAY or PRELIMINARY NOTICE REQUIREMENTS ON

CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS IN CALIFORNIA

• First Tier Subcontractors Having a Direct Contract With the Public Agency or Private Property Owner - Do Not Have to Serve a Preliminary Notice on Public Projects.

• Caution - Play it Safe and Serve Notice.

• Subcontractors and suppliers must ALWAYS Serve a Preliminary Notice

• Notice - Must be Served on Prime Contractor and Public Agency on Public Jobs, or on

Prime Contractor, Property Owner & Construction Loan Lender on Private Jobs

• Methods of Service for 20- Day Preliminary Notice

• Personal Service by process server or third party

• First Class Mail Allowed on Public Project (Not on Private jobs)

• If Mailing, Best Practice is by Certified Mail -Request Return Receipt

• Contractor Place of Business - Do Not Mail to Job Site!

• Check Contract Documents for Proper Public Entity and Owner & Lender

PRIVATE AND PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS

• Are you a prime contractor or a subcontractor?

• All persons who do not have a direct contract with the owner of the property - including material suppliers to a contractor or subcontractors and persons contracting with a tenant- are considered "subcontractors" for purposes of meeting the requirements of the Mechanics Lien Stop Notice and Payment Bond Laws.

• Even if you are a licensed general contractor, you are considered to be a "subcontractor" for certain purposes under the California Mechanics Lien Law when your contract is not a direct contract with owner of the property, such as when a general contractor contracts with a tenant of the owner of the property on either public property or private property.

N.B. The contents of this Article do not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship, and you may not rely on it without seeking legal advice regarding your particular situation and contract from a competent construction attorney. Please also note that statutes and case law are frequently changing and these materials may become outdated.

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