A lien holder who does not have a direct contract with the owner must serve the owner with a Notice to Owner. This includes a subcontractor, a materialman and even a materialman to a sub-subcontractor and is a prerequisite to perfecting and recording a Claim of Lien. If the materialman to a sub-subcontractor knows the name and address of the subcontractor, it must also serve a copy of the Notice to Owner on the subcontractor as well.

The failure of a subcontractor or a materialman to serve a copy of the Notice to Owner on the owner bars a potential lienor’s claim.

The Notice to Owner must be served before commencing work but not later than 45 days after commencing work. However, it must always be served before the date of the owner’s disbursement of the final payment after the contractor has furnished the Contractor’s Final Affidavit. While this is typically a rare event, it may be of importance to those lienors who appear very late on the job or for jobs of very short duration.