The Private Works – Preliminary Notice form which contractors, subcontractors and suppliers had become accustomed to using for many years changed in 2004. Despite this change in law, many in the construction industry have still not started using the correct new form. Changes in the law, championed by the American Subcontractors’ Association, gave a significant new benefit to subcontractors and suppliers by giving the subcontractor or supplier some expectation of actually receiving notice of when a Notice of Completion or a Notice of Cessation has been recorded on many private works projects. The law also changed the language of the California Preliminary Notice that subcontractors and suppliers must use to protect their mechanics’ lien, bond claim and stop payment notice rights. If Owners do not send out the Notice of Completion as required by law they incur a diminishing of the protections afforded to them when they record a Notice of Completion or Notice of Cessation on many private works projects.
The revised law requires private project owners to notify all subcontractors and suppliers within 10 days after recording a Notice of Completion or Notice of Cessation that a Notice of Completion or a Notice of Cessation has actually been recorded. In order to receive such notice, the subcontractor or supplier must properly serve the new form of Preliminary Notice. If this properly occurs and the private project owner provides the required notice, then the subcontractor or supplier will have 30 days to record a Mechanics’ Lien. However, if an owner under such circumstances fails to properly notify a subcontractor or supplier within 10 days after recording a Notice of Completion or Notice of Cessation, then the Subcontractor or supplier will have 90 days to record a Mechanics’ Lien. The details of the law can be found in California Civil Code sections 8190, 8414 and 8416.