deadlines to record a mechanics lien

Deadline to Record Mechanics Lien in California

Updated on August 22, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • Mechanics liens in California must be recorded within specific time frames to be enforceable.
  • Deadlines vary based on whether you are a direct contractor or a claimant (non-direct contractor).
  • For Direct Contractors, the deadline is either 90 days after completing the work of improvement or 60 days after the owner records a notice of completion or cessation.
  • For Claimants (non-direct contractors), the deadline is either 90 days after completing the work of improvement or 30 days after the owner records a notice of completion or cessation.
  • To enforce a recorded mechanics lien, claimants must give a preliminary notice to the owner, direct contractor, and construction lender.

Notice of Completion Construction

Did you know there were certain deadlines to record a mechanics lien? For a mechanics lien to be enforceable, it must be recorded within a certain amount of time. These deadlines to record a mechanics lien are not all the same; they vary and depend on several factors. The first determining factor is whether you are a director contractor or a claimant, other than a direct contractor.

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Direct Contractor

For direct contractors, the deadline to record a mechanics lien is the earlier of:

1. 90 days after completing the work of improvement;
2. 60 days after the owner records a notice of completion or cessation.

Claimants

For any claimants other than direct contractors, the deadline to record a mechanics lien is, after the claimant stops providing work, the earlier of:

1. 90 days after completing the work of improvement;
2. 30 days after the owner records a notice of completion or cessation.

This may sound confusing. However, for easier reading, you can refer to the following table for the deadlines that may apply to you:

Recorded Notice of

Completion/Cessation

No Notice of

Completion/Cessation

Direct contractors

60 days

90 days

Non-direct contractors

30 days

90 days

There is also a prerequisite to enforcing a recorded mechanics lien that applies mainly to claimants other than direct contractors. This prerequisite is giving a preliminary notice to the right people.

Preliminary Notice

Claimants other than direct contractors must give a preliminary notice to the following:

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1. Owner or reputed owner;
2. Direct contractor or reputed direct contractor;
3. Construction lender or reputed construction lender.

Making the deadlines to record a mechanics lien, is just the beginning of the process. Direct contractors are required to give a preliminary notice only to the construction lender or reputed construction lender, if there is one. If these steps are followed, you will be able to enforce your mechanics lien against the owner of the property.

If you are having a mechanics lien issue, whether you are the contractor or the property owner, please contact Schorr Law. Our experienced real estate attorneys have dealt with several mechanics lien matters, and can represent you in these types of disputes. Contact us today and see if you qualify for a free consultation!

See related: How to Remove a Mechanics Lien From Your Home

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