California Notice of Completion

There are companies out there who purport to have services that monitor Notice of Completion filings in California. While it is absolutely imperative to know when a Notice of Completion is filed on your project (because it limits the time within which a mechanic’s lien must be filed), these services are not necessary because the property owner must notify all parties who provided preliminary notice according to California’s mechanic’s lien statute A property owner who files and fails to provide notice to any contractor who provided a preliminary notice loses the effectiveness of the notice against that party.

To review, a Notice of Completion in California is a document that the property owner may file at the end of the project. It reduces the time within which a contractor may file a mechanics lien from 90 days to 30 days after a project is substantially complete. This document mitigates the owner’s risk against liens being filed against their property because it reduces the time frame within which contractors must act.

Many contractors who I speak with want this monitoring service because they say that while they know the statute says they must receive notice, owners do not often comply by notifying them. My answer to them is always the same: check section 8190 of California’s lien statute to see if it applies in their case. That section says in part:

An owner that records a notice of completion or cessation shall, within 10 days of the date the notice of completion or cessation is filed for record, give a copy of the notice to all of the following persons: (1) A direct contractor. (2) A claimant that has given the owner preliminary notice…If the owner fails to give notice to a person as required [this statute]…the notice is ineffective to shorten the time within which that person may record a claim of lien.

There are some limited exceptions to this requirement for certain types of owners, but for the vast majority of cases this rule will apply and the need to monitor for a California Notice of Completion would not be necessary as long as you sent a preliminary notice in accordance with the law.