mechanics-lien

Mechanic’s Lien Recording Timeframe

Updated on February 2, 2018

Picerne Constr. Corp. v. Castellino Villas
In general, Cal. Civ. Code §8412 provides that for a contractor to preserve the right to enforce a mechanic’s lien he must record his claim of lien after he completes his contract and before the expiration of either:
(a) Ninety days after completion of the work of improvement; or
(b) Sixty days after the owner records a notice of completion or cessation. (See Cal. Civ. Code §8412.)

Thus, under California’s mechanic’s lien laws, without a recorded notice of completion a general contractor has 90 days from completion of the work of improvement to record a claim of mechanic’s lien.  (Cal. Civ. Code §8412(a).)

Prior to the ruling in Picerne Constr. Corp v. Castellino Villas, courts differed in opinion as to when the 90-day period began to run.  Some courts held that the period was triggered upon substantial completion of a contractor’s work.  (Picerne Constr. Corp v. Castellino Villas (2016) 244 Cal.App.4th 1201, 1212.)  However, Picerne Constr. Corp. overturned those holdings and established that only “actual completion” will trigger the 90-day period.  (Id. at 1216.)

ALSO READ  Mansionization in Los Angeles

As support for its holding, Picerne Constr. Corp.  relied on Cal. Civ. Code § 3086.  In particular, the court mentioned that the Legislature in Cal. Civ. Code § 3086 defined the term completion as “actual completion of the work of improvement.”  (Picerne Constr. Corp v. Castellino Villas (2016) 244 Cal.App.4th 1201, 1210.)

Takeaways

In summary, the following is a useful guide to determine when the 90-day period is triggered:
1. actual completion of the work of improvement; or
2. any of the following events which are deemed legally complete: 
a. the occupation or use of a work of improvement by the owner or his agent, accompanied by cessation of labor thereon;
b. the acceptance by the owner or his agent of the work of improvement; or
c. after the commencement of a work of improvement, a cessation of labor thereon for a continuous period of 60 days, or a cessation of labor thereon for a continuous period of 30 days or more if the owner records a notice of cessation of labor. 

Schorr Law has experience resolving a variety of mechanic’s lien issues.  To inquire about a free 30 minute consultation, contact us by phone at (310) 954-1877 or by email at info@schorr-law.com. You can also send us a brief message on the contact form on this page.

ALSO READ  How Contractor’s Licenses Protect Homeowners and Contractors

By Randy Aguirre.

See related: Avoiding Mechanic’s Lien Claims by a Notice of Non Responsibility

Scroll