You filed a mechanics lien, and it cost you money. Everything costs money these days it seems.  When you’re spending this money to get your California mechanics lien recorded, you’re probably wondering: Am I ever going to see this money again?  Do I have the legal right to recover the cost of filing this mechanics lien from the parties who owe this debt?  After all, you wouldn’t need to file the mechanics lien if they had just paid their invoice on time.

In California, there’s good news. The right to recover the cost of filing your mechanics lien is built right within the state’s mechanics lien statutory scheme.

California Civil Code article 3150 provides:

In addition to any other costs allowed by law, the court in an action to foreclose a lien must also allow as costs the money paid for verifying and recording the lien, such costs to be allowed each claimant whose lien is established, whether he be plaintiff or defendant.

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As anyone following the California mechanics lien laws knows, this law is scheduled to change on July 1, 2012. While there are some substantive differences that will take effect on this date, most of the rest of the mechanics lien law will be pretty much relocated to another area in the Civil Code. That is the case for this provision. While the language is slightly different, see below, the result is the same:

In addition to any other costs allowed by law, the court in an action to enforce a lien shall allow as costs to each claimant whose lien is established the amount paid to verify and record the claim of lien, whether the claimant is a plaintiff or defendant.

If you file a mechanics lien in California, you are entitled to recover the costs you paid in having the lien recorded.  Remember, however, that you CANNOT include these costs in the mechanics lien amount itself. While it is recoverable, it is not to be included in the lien amount.  It’s just an amount you are entitled to recover above your lien amount as part of any mechanics lien foreclosure action.

Want to learn more about California lien laws?
Our free California Mechanics Lien Guide contains everything you need to know to secure your lien rights and get paid, including helpful tips, required forms, and a step-by-step guide to the entire lien process.


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