Notice to Owner: Do I Need One?

by | Nov 4, 2020 | Getting Paid

Most construction professionals understand the reason for a Notice to Owner.  It is in fact self-explanatory – a notice to advise the owner of anticipated labor, services or materials being furnished to its property.  And most know that it is a prerequisite to liening a property in the event one is not paid for work done improving the owner’s property.

But what many may not know is that a Notice to Owner is not necessary when there is already a contractual relationship with the owner.  So where the owner is in privity with the particular contractor, say the plumber or electrician, then no notice is needed.  Why?  Because the owner already knows about the improvements being provided by that plumber or electrician.  Likewise, when it comes to a laborer or a professional service provider like an architect, landscape architect, interior designer, engineer or surveyor, the law provides an exception from the Notice to Owner requirements.

Either actual knowledge resulting from direct privity or imputed knowledge resulting from any sort of agency relationship rules out the need for a Notice to Owner.  When a contractor and owner are one and the same, or share the same office or officers, then for all practical purposes a common identity exists and serving a Notice to Owner is not really necessary either.

That said, sending a Notice when one may not be needed doesn’t negatively impact your rights.  So send it if you’re not sure, and reach out to your construction advisor to see what more you may have to do.  Better to be safe than sorry.

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