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LegalCornerTM - Mechanics Liens F.A.Q.'s

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Q.When can a contactor record a lien against my property?

A.No one can record a Mechanic's Lien against a residential property until the project pursuant to which the labor, services, equipment, or materials was provided is complete. Pursuant to California case law, a project is considered complete when all work under the contract has been performed, excused, or otherwise discharged. Now we know that a Mechanic's Lien cannot be filed (properly) until the project is complete, the question becomes how long can a contractor wait before filing a mechanic's lien?

California law provides different time periods for contractors who contracted directly with the homeowner and subcontractors / suppliers who only contract with a general contractor. The general contractor who has contracted with the homeowner can file a Mechanic's Lien up to 90 days after the project's completion date. See, California Civil Code Sections 3115 and 3116.

If the property owner records a Notice of Completion and notifies the contractor(s) if the property is not owner-occupied, the time period is shortened to 60 days after the project's completion date. Subcontractors and suppliers who did not have a contract with the homeowner have 30 Days after the projects completion date if the homeowner filed a Notice of Completion.

However, a subcontractor or supplier who enters into a contract with a general contractor may lose their right to claim a mechanic's lien, or see their rights reduced, if within 20 days after first furnishing services or materials to the project, they did not serve a statutory Preliminary 20-Day Notice on the homeowner, general contractor and lender. See, California Civil Code Sections 3097 and 3114.

Copyright 1999-2019 Melissa C. Marsh. All Rights Reserved. All Information on this website is subject to a Disclaimer and Use Agreement. This information is provided as general information only and should not be construed as legal advice. We advise you to seek the advice of competent legal counsel to address your own specific questions, facts and circumstances.