Guide to filing a mechanics lien in Alameda County

Successfully recording your mechanics lien with the Alameda County Recorder requires you carefully meet all of the county’s recording requirements! Here is some practical guidance on how to get your lien filed in Alameda County, which includes liens filed in the cities of Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Dublin, Emeryville, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Newark, Oakland, Piedmont, Pleasanton, San Leandro, Union City, Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview, San Lorenzo, and Sunol.

For a complete description of the filing process in Alameda County, consult our step-by-step guide to Filing A California Mechanics Lien.

Where is the Alameda County Recorder's Office that files mechanic liens?

If you have the property’s address and location, you may be able to get the property’s legal description from the Alameda County Assessor’s office. Alameda County has 2 different locations where you can go to record your mechanic’s lien. If you have trouble getting there or with this information, you can call them. They have the following phone numbers:

Toll Free: 1-888-280-7708

Local: 1-510-272-6362

TDD: 1-510-444-1396

Main Office in Oakland
1106 Madison Street
Oakland, CA 94607
M-F: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Tri-Valley Office
7600 Dublin Boulevard
Dublin, CA 94568
M-F: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Document recordings only accepted until 4:30 pm. in both the offices

If you are mailing your lien documents, you must send them to this location/address:

Alameda County Clerk-Recorder’s Office
1106 Madison Street
Oakland, CA 94607

What is Alameda County's Recording Backlog?

Alameda County doesn’t publicly list their backlog, but it’s common for recording offices to have backlogs. You want to avoid sending your mechanics lien to Alameda County for recording by mail unless you know the backlog and what to expect. You can give the County Recorder’s office a call and check how long recording your mechanics lien may take – of course, their estimate is not guaranteed.

Should my mechanics lien be filed in Alameda County, or some other county?

If the project is located in Alameda county, then yes, you will want to record your lien at the Alameda Recorder’s Office.

What are Alameda County's requirements for recording a mechanics lien?

The document must be in compliance with state and local laws.

What are the margin & page size requirements to file a lien in Alameda County?

Paper Size: All documents must be on regular letter-sized paper: 8.5 by 11 inches. Other page sizes incur additional recording fees.

Margin: Except for the first page (see below), a minimum of 0.5 inches must be left blank on all sides of the document.

First Page:: 2.5 inches of margin must be left at the top of the first page.

Use A Cover Sheet If First Page Does Not Comply: If the first page of a document does not comply with these legal requirements, attach a separate page to the front of the document that meets these spacing criteria and which includes the title or titles of the document.

How can I make payment to the Alameda County Recorder?

Alameda county has many payment options, including payment by cash, credit, and check. However, this depends on whether you’re recording something by mail or in person.

Payment Options for In-Person Recording

• Cash

• Debit/ATM Card.

• Credit cards are not accepted for in-person and mail requests.

• Money Order, Cashier’s or Traveler’s Check – payable to: Alameda County Clerk-Recorder

• Personal, Company or Bank Check, preprinted with account holder’s name and address – payable to: Alameda County Clerk-Recorder. Out of country payments must be in U.S. dollars.

• Credit cards (Master Card or Visa) are ONLY accepted for online copy request of Birth, Death, Marriage Certificates, Fictitious Business Name Statements, and Official Public Records.

If you wish to record a document by mail, mail your document and payment to this address:

Clerk-Recorder’s Office

Alameda County Clerk-Recorder’s Office
1106 Madison Street
Oakland, CA 94607

What are the filing fees to record a mechanics lien in Alameda County?

The Alameda County Recorder’s “base fee” to file a mechanics lien is $99.00, and includes 1 page. Each additional page costs $3.00.

This is based on a regular recording fee of $14.00 for the first page and $3.00 for each additional page, plus $75 for the California SB-2 Building Homes and Jobs Act. 

This includes a $10.00 fee for Real Estate Fraud Prosecution Titles.

Additional recording fees:

The Alameda County Recorder also charges $7 per individual or business name listed as a property owner or public entity on your lien in order to index them and send out a notification.

For Involuntary Liens

The fee for recording an involuntary lien will be $7.00 per debtor in addition to the Real Estate Fraud fee of $10, the regular recording fee of $89.00 for the first page and $3.00 for each page thereafter. The recording fee for non-standard size is $92.00 for the first page and $6.00 for each page thereafter.

How do I get a recorded copy of my lien from Alameda County's Recorders Office?

For online copies:

The document must be filed and recorded in Alameda County. There is a $ 2.00 Online Order Convenience Fee per order.

If you’d like a certified copy online, it would be an additional $1.

For paper copies:

  • Plain copies are $3.50 per page.
  • Certified copies are $4.50 for first page, $3.50 for each additional page.

Do I have the right to file a mechanics lien in Alameda, California?

Determining whether you do or do not have a mechanics lien right can be tricky. Generally speaking, every state gives those who have furnished labor and/or materials to a construction project the right to file a mechanics lien if unpaid for the furnishing. The same is true in California. However, there are some state-specific limitations as to who is qualified to file a mechanics lien that is important when considering whether you have the right to file a mechanics lien in Alameda County, California.

Great and detailed information about this is available on our California Mechanics Lien Resources Page.

What is the fee to file a California Preliminary Notice in Alameda County?

The filing fee to record and file a California preliminary notice in Alameda is $45 for filing a Preliminary 20 Day Notice. While you can file a CA preliminary notice in Alameda, there is a question of whether you should.

We explored this in the Ultimate Guide to California’s Preliminary Notice, as well as in response to this question in our Expert Center: Am I required to record – or should I record – a California preliminary notice?.

Since filing a California prelim offers very little benefits, but is quite costly, it’s probably a good idea to NOT file it. And you don’t need to. You only need to send it.