Here is a definition for you: A Preliminary Notice contains language which describes the details of the contract and who the interested parties are to the transaction. It also makes a statement to the property owner that a mechanics lien could be placed on the subject property, what the consequences of such a lien placement are, and what their remedies would be. The placement of a Mechanics Lien helps to ensure that you receive payment for your services. The owner of the property will not have clear title until the lien is released.
I’ve never filed a Preliminary Notice or a Mechanics Lien for work that I’ve done as a handyman. Would I be sorry that I hadn’t? Yes, if I’d done work for a homeowner or a contractor and never got paid!
As a handyman, we continually work under the assumption that we will be paid for the work that we do. If payment is never received, the homeowner has great leverage against us. It is usually impossible to repossess the work that we did.
A Mechanics Lien is our way of insuring that we receive payment. The Preliminary Notice is the first step in the process and it lets the homeowner know that a Mechanics Lien could be filed. This in itself is often sufficient to prompt the homeowner to pay for the work making the actual filing of the mechanics lien unnecessary.
Check your local authorities for details. Each state has its own filing requirements, time restrictions and laws.