Have any of you guys ever had a pre-lien notice sent to a GC or property owner you are working for? I have accounts with Hertz equipment rental and RSC, and both companies send these letters out without warning or reason. The last job I used Hertz on they did not know who the GC was, because there was not one, so they sent the letter to the 3 other subs on the job, and the property owner. Basically the letter says if the person who rented the equipment does not pay the bill we can and will collect it from you. Managers at both companies told me the ONLY way to avoid this letter going out is to rent with a credit card or cash. You guys had to deal with this? What did you do?
The Preliminary Notice of Lien is required, at least in California, for all material suppliers, subcontractors, prime contractors, rental companies ..... in short everybody involved in the supply process.
You are required to sign a lien release to be paid.
If you eliminate this step in the process, you lose your right to lien the job.
I think that in the absence of a GC, Hertz made a mistake in sending prelim notices to the other subs. Hertz should have sent the notice only to the owner.
The letter IS the warning. It's not a lien in itself, just a required preliminary notice that such a thing is possible if a bill is not paid. The law allows a supplier of anything used on a project such as the one you mentioned, to collect his money from the property owner where it was used or supplied if the contractor doesn't pay his bill. Many people aren't aware of this possibility. The letter gives them the opportunity to make sure the contractor has paid his bills before they sign the final check. I've never objected to receiving such a letter but some people view it as an assumption that they're going to welch on a bill and are insulted by it. Oh well.
My wife has tried and failed on many occasions to get a Hertz rental car [ other hire companies have the exact same policy] from several airports in the UK and France, without her own credit card. They won't take my Amex, her debit, online, nor cash [ "Sorry we stopped taking cash after an armed robbery here." ], checks, gold bars - it must be a valid credit card, in the name of the hirer, presented at the desk at the time of hiring by the named driver. Reason? Fraud. And don't get me started on their scams for damage waivers, second driver insurance, road-tax levy etc. which virtually double their online quotes.... I guess if you say it's your US law, but a third party would never get to be responsible for a first parties debt in the EU just because the hirer is working in their home. Sounds kinda unconstitutional to me.
Depends which side of the transaction you are on. If you are the supplier and the contractor picks up $1000s worth of product and installs in a house. How do you recover your product is the contractor does not pay? You can't go to the house and remove it.
OP said this was for 'equipment rental'. 'Ownership' is not in any doubt in any jurisdiction for hired machinery or w.h.y. left on the premises, surely - unless the EC permanently installed a cement mixer under the kitchen counter!