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                                                              Facts to Remember

When?  

 General Contractors / Design Professionals (if your contract is with the owner): If Notice of Completion recorded: record your California lien within 60 days of completion of the overall project. If no Notice of Completion filed: within 90 days of completion of the overall project.

Subcontractors/Suppliers (if your contract is with the prime or another sub): If Notice of Completion recorded: record your California lien within 30 days of completion of the overall project. If no Notice of Completion filed: within 60 days of completion of the overall project.

 Who?  A mechanic’s lien in California can be utilized for General contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, lessors of equipment, and design professionals, such as architects, engineers, and land surveyors.

 Where?  County Recorder’s Office in county where the work / material was furnished.

How Long Does it Remain of Record?  It does not last indefinitely. A mechanics lien in California stays 6 months after recording the lien. A lawsuit to foreclose the lien is then required. We have templates for this.

Free Lien Consultation:   If you prefer, for the same price, we will instruct you how to fill-out the California mechanic’s lien form line by line, answer questions, and give a general idea of the chances for success in enforcing the lien.  (800-995-9434).

Mechanics Lien for California Law Summary:  For a more detailed discussion of California mechanics liens.

 


 

 

 

 

HOW TO FILE A CALIFORNIA MECHANIC’S LIEN

Step 1.  Fill-out and Print

 Complete the PDF “fillable” mechanic’s lien template.  It automatically captures data and prints the lien in final form. Bonus feature:  Keep on your desktop: it is re-usable for other non-paying jobs.

Amount of California mechanic’s lien: All work/material furnished under the base verbal or written contract plus change orders actually performed, whether signed or not. Finance charges are allowed only if included in your contract or PO and signed by the other party. If not, you still get pre-judgment interest.  But do not include specific finance charges or interest in the amount of your lien; instead express it as a possible add-on at trial. Example: “Mechanic’s lien for the principal amount of $10,550, plus finance charges / pre-judgment interest as allowed by law”.  This will be awarded later if you are the prevailing party in the California lien foreclosure suit.

Do not reduce for freebies or discounts, as they were contingent on being paid.  With non-payment, it is no longer legal consideration for a contract modification in which the owner receives a reduced price.  Example:  In a kitchen remodel, for good customer relations you supplied some extras free:  a) a 48 bottle built-in wine cellar and b) painted the adjoining dining room with a coat of base and semi-gloss. Then you never got paid the last installment on the contract. If you supplied labor only, your California lien will add in the hourly rate under the contract. If labor and material, use cost-plus or T & M amounts in the lien.

Do not include:  A mechanics lien in California should not include: court costs and attorneys’ fees (included later if you win at trial for breach of contract); lost profits if terminated from the job; delay or impact damages; lost time or business interruption; or anything else not constituting actual labor and materials improving the property.

Be careful.  Including unauthorized amounts can invalidate a California mechanics lien.  Call us if you have any questions.

Step 2.  Sign and Notarize

 Signed by anyone who has knowledge of the general services rendered and the costs incurred.  It does not have to be someone in the field—in other words, it can be by office personnel. For example, this could be a manager, bookkeeper, controller, job foreman, project manager, owner, co-owner, or partner. All recorded documents must be notarized.

Step 3.  Look-up Recorder’s Office

 Recording a mechanics lien in California is at the county level, not state or city.  See “Where?” above for the name of your State’s recorder. Do a Google search for the county in which the project is located.  Example: “[Name] County Clerk Recorder Register of Deeds”. Call to verify the fee and recorder’s address. Give them the city where the work was done–sometimes it is filed in different branch offices.  If you don’t know the county, Google the city—even small towns have a Wikipedia listing describing the county. Use the cover letter provided. Send the original and one copy with a stamped self-addressed return envelope.

Legal description required? Most counties don’t require it, but if they do, we will look it up for free with any purchase.

Step 4.  Mail

Regular mail to the recorder.  Overnight if close to the filing deadline. If a general contractor, serve the California mechanics lien on the owner with a copy certified mail. If a sub or supplier, serve the owner and general with a copy certified mail. Fill-out and staple as the last page the Proof of Service (it shows proof of mailing to the owner and/or general contractor).

You’re  Done!

Give us a call us if you have any questions about a mechanics lien in California—we’ll walk you through it. (800) 995-9434; (925) 899-8449.

 

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