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This page contains ideas on how to
track the myriad of paperwork involved with processing California 20-Day Preliminary
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Ideas for tracking your
preliminary notice certified mailings
When sending certified mail, there's a portion of the Certified
Mail Receipt PS Form 3800 February 2000 that you keep for your
tracking purposes. This slip of paper has the tracking number of
your envelope, as well as it records how much you spent, who the
mailing was addressed to and what day it went. It's
important to keep track of this Certified Mail Receipt, but
because there are usually so many of them, this can be difficult.
the easiest way I've found to do this is to:
- Record the tracking number from the Certified Mail Receipt
PS Form 3800 within a log I created.
- Tuck the Certified Mail Receipt PS Form 3800 into a pocket
within the folder that contains the log.
- Every time a Return Receipt PS Form 3811 comes back to me
(which indicates that the preliminary notice was received and
by whom) I record it in the log next to the corresponding tracking
number from #1 above.
- I then attach the two receipts (3800 & 3811) to my copy
of the preliminary notice that I keep in my job folder.
- I review the log every few days to make sure I am not missing
any return receipts 3811 (without the
receipt you cannot prove that the intended recipient actually
received the notice).
You need to keep track of these mailings to make sure every individual
entity receives their prelim notice.
A bad scenario:
Your prelim notice doesn't make it to the owner and when payment
is due the owner doesn't pay.
When it's proven in court that you
are indeed owed this money, if you can't prove that the owner received your preliminary
notice, then you most likely will not be allowed to attach a lien
on his property.
The only way to prove that the owner (or any entity) received
your notice is by showing his signature (or that of his authorized
representative) on the return receipt.
The only way to show his signature is to present the return receipt
with his signature on it and the only way to do that is to follow
up on every single preliminary notice you send out. When
the inevitable happens and you don't get the return receipt on a
notice you sent out, you'll need to check with the post office to
find out what's happened with your mailing. You
may have to resend the notice.
If you've chosen to not pay for the return receipt (it does cost
extra), and instead trust the Post Office to keep track of it, you're
risking your lien rights. If you need to
prove that a particular entity received your preliminary notice
but the post office cannot find the receipt, you're most likely
out of luck! With their track record being what it is - the USPS has misplaced/lost a lot of my mail - are you really going to trust them?
Remember your time limit, it's very short. It's
a good idea to mail your prelim on the same day you begin work,
or supply material, so that you have the entire 20 days to
make sure everything has been done properly.
Below is a list of all the sections available on this topic. The
next section (Part
7) consists of an article written by David Barnier, Attorney-at-Law,
about what might happen if you don't prelim the proper entities.
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!! :)
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!