3 Keys to Mechanic’s Liens in California

Updated on June 19, 2021

Mechanic’s liens are a somewhat speedy tool in construction disputes that allow contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers and laborers on construction projects to place a lien on the owner’s property.

(1) Preliminary Notice Required: In order for a contractor, subcontractor or material supplier to have the mechanic’s lien remedy available to them, they must first service a preliminary notice on the owner of the property. The Preliminary notice, among other things, provides the owner with notice as to the identity of the person who may be entitled to enforce a mechanic’s lien and the amount of their potential claims.   The preliminary notice is very important, because a mechanic’s lien is not enforceable by a party who fails to satisfy the statutory requirements for a preliminary notice (this excludes laborers).

(2) Time Frame for Recording a lien: There are various time frames for recording a lien that are controlled by statute. Generally, however, the direct contractor must record the lien after the contract work is completed and prior to the expiration of either (1) 60 days after recording a notice of completion or notice of cessation or (2) 90 days after the completion of the work if there is no notice of completion or notice of cessation of labor recorded.

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(3) Action to Enforce the Lien: A mechanic’s lien acts in very much the same way a mortgage or deed of trust works. Therefore, in order to enforce a mechanic’s lien the claimant must bring an action to foreclose on the lien. The claimant must bring the action to foreclose on the mechanic’s lien within 90 days after the mechanic’s lien is recorded.   If the claimant fails to file the action to foreclose on the mechanic’s lien within 90 days, the lien expires and is not enforceable against the property.

The law on mechanic’s liens in the state of California is quite specific with a complicated and detailed statutory framework. At Schorr Law, our Los Angeles mechanic’s lien attorneys, have experience dealing with mechanic’s liens on both commercial and residential property.

For help with your mechanic’s lien case or to inquire about a free consultation, contact us today at (310) 954-1877, info@schorr-law.com or by filling out our Contact Form.

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See related: Mechanic’s Lien Recording Timeframe