Whether you are a property owner or a contractor trying to get paid for a project, you want to pay particular attention to the statutory framework governing mechanic’s lien law in California. If contractors do not comply, enforcing a mechanics lien can be difficult and this has important ramifications for both the property owner and those working on the project.
How to File a Mechanics Lien:
The Importance of a 20-Day Preliminary Notice for Subcontractors
The only entity that has the right to record a mechanic’s lien is the entity who is in contractual privity with the homeowner, or owner of the property, unless they file a 20-day preliminary notice. To file, in other words, is to send the notice via certified mail with a return receipt requested to the property owner, the general contractor, and/or the lender of the project. This may apply to subcontractors, material suppliers, or anyone else who is not in contractual privity with the property owner. The 20-day preliminary notice lets the property owner know that you are on the project working for them and it also lets them know about your contract price and so on. Ultimately, the 20-day preliminary notice is the prerequisite for recording a mechanic’s lien in the State of California for those that are not in contractual privity with the property owner.
When to Record a Mechanic’s Lien:
Once an entity has the right to record a mechanic’s lien either by already being in contractual privity with the property owner, or filing a 20-day preliminary notice, explained above, then they have 90 days from the last day in which work was done to record the mechanic’s lien. For example, if during a project, work was stopped for any period of time and then continued at a later date, the 90-day period would begin at the completion of the work commenced on the later date.
How to Enforce a Mechanic’s Lien:
Once a mechanic’s lien has been recorded, entities have 90 days to file a complaint to enforce, or foreclose on a mechanic’s lien. Property owners can be confident in the knowledge that just because a contractor has a mechanic’s lien recorded against their property, if the contractor does not act in a timely fashion, the mechanic’s lien will be unenforceable and can be expunged from the record.
Help With Your Specific Case:
Whether you are a property owner with a mechanic’s lien file against you, or a contractor looking to enforce a mechanic’s lien, if you need further assistance, don’t hesitate to call The Mellor Law Firm. We are happy to assist you with your particular case.