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By Contractors For Contractors!
  When processing your preliminary notices in-house

[Back to Page 4] - [Forward to Page 6]


Hello!

A detailed outline of how to process the California 20-day Preliminary Notice form that is available here at our site

Bookmark us, because you will want to visit again and again, to keep your paperwork in order!

Be sure to subscribe to our free newsletter as it will keep you updated on happenings at our site, updates to our forms and ongoing news in the construction world.

Download the California 20-Day preliminary notice form

First, purchase and download a copy of the preliminary notice form that we use when we process our own prelims, by visiting this page (it'll open in a separate window so you won't lose your place here :).

Fill in the California 20-Day preliminary notice form

Once you've got the form open on your computer, you'll be able to move your cursor over the various fields to fill in the applicable information.

The fields each have little windows that will pop up when you "mouse-over" them, with instructions as to what needs to be entered into each particular field.

Research all information to verify it. If you don't research and verify, you might miss someone.

If you do miss even just one, it could cause you to lose your lien rights.

Print the California 20-Day preliminary notice form

After you've filled in the form, go ahead and print how ever many originals you need. You'll need one for each entity listed on the form as well as one for yourself.

Prepare the certified mailing envelope

When you are preparing your envelopes and postal forms (the postal forms are discussed in the next section), you can do it much quicker if you use your computer (or typewriter) to print the addresses on labels.

Each mailing requires you to provide the 'mail to' address three (3) times and your own return address a minimum of two (2) times.

If you use your word processor application you can create the labels, print them, peel them and apply them to the required areas of your paperwork. Not only does this save you time but it also saves you from experiencing that wonderful 'writer's cramp'!

You can also use your printer/typewriter to address your envelope(s), and just use the labels for the postal forms, which is much easier than trying to get those pesky little postal forms to stay put in your typewriter/printer so you can type on them... :)

Please note that the Post Office has stated that they can better process your mail if you address your envelopes by typing, stamping, or printing extremely legibly, the recipient's address as well as the return address, in all CAPITAL LETTERS and no punctuation marks.

Mail (also known as Serve) the California 20-Day preliminary notice form

The preliminary notice has to be mailed certified or registered, with the return receipt being optional. For a list of the fees visit the USPS.gov website.

Even though requesting a return receipt costs more and isn't required, we still do request it and recommend that you do too.

Once you've mailed (served) the preliminary notice form(s), then you'll need to fill in the "California 20-Day Preliminary Notice Proof of Service Affidavit" form, and keep it in a safe place (I suggest keeping it in the job folder).

Once you have the return receipt(s) in your hands, you know that your notice has been served and your rights have been protected. You'll want to keep the return receipt(s) with the Proof of Service Affidavit.

Part 6 of this series of articles consists of a detailed walkthrough on how to keep track of your return receipts, rather than counting on the Post Office to do it for you.

There are two postal forms you'll need to obtain from the Post Office, in order to mail your prelim certified:
* Domestic Return Receipt PS Form 3811
* Certified Mail Receipt PS Form 3800

The easiest way to make sure you are preparing the certified mailing documents correctly is to go to the post office and get their help.

Once they've shown you how to prepare your envelope and forms, you can grab a bunch of the forms and keep them in your office, along with enough postage to mail several notices.

When I purchase postage I usually buy enough to mail between 10 and 15 notices. And when you run low, on stamps and/or the required forms, sometimes you can leave a note in your mailbox asking your postal carrier to leave some in your mailbox for you (but include a check for the postage).

Once you've done this, you won't have to make any more trips to the post office to send your certified mail! I did this the entire time we were contractors so hopefully they haven't changed it since then (your mail-person can tell you).

Below is a list of all the sections available on this topic. The next section (Part 6) will show you how to organize and keep track of your copies of the certified mailing postal forms.



Part 1 - Process your California 20-Day Preliminary Notice or lose out on your lien rights!
Part 2 - Researching and verifying preliminary notice information
Part 3 - Software can help you process preliminary notices super-quick! <-- No longer available
Part 4 - Outsourcing your preliminary notices
Part 5 - Processing preliminary notices using the form available here
Part 6 - Don't let a slip-up at the post office cause you to lose your rights
Part 7 - Mistaken Identity - by Attorney Dave Barnier...
Part 8 - Some common mistakes you MUST avoid !!
Part 9 - LienLawOnline is a valuable asset to add to your library of helpful sites



Thank you for visiting our site. I hope that this series of articles is helpful to you! I'm always happy to receive feedback, so please do send me a note if you have anything you'd like to tell me. Thank you!! :)

Diane

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Preliminary Notices Required by Law

Updated for July 2012 new mechanic's lien laws... In California, subcontractors (and now Direct Contractors - used to be known as GC's and also trade contractors who contract directly with an owner) are required by law to do the California 20-day preliminary notice! Get your instant download, re-usable form and detailed instructions on how to do preliminary notices today, right now, in less than 5 minutes!


 

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