Guide to filing a mechanics lien in Los Angeles County

Successfully recording your mechanics lien in Los Angeles County can be quite the feat! Los Angeles is one of the biggest counties in the United States and their recording offices are extremely busy. You have to have and get everything right, including meeting all filing requirements, paying the correct fees, delivering the lien by the correct date, and more. Here is a practical guide on how to get your mechanics lien filed with the Los Angeles County Recorder. The page includes information on where to file the lien, the steps to file the lien in LA, all of the requirements (including fees and document margins) as stated by the County Recorder, how and where to make payment to the county, how to get the legal property description, and other helpful information. You can also easily e-record your lien with Levelset in just a few clicks. For more information on filing a lien in California, you may also want to consult our step-by-step guide to Filing A California Mechanics Lien used by thousands of contractors.

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

Los Angeles County has 4 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 all have the same phone number: (800) 201-8999

Norwalk Location
12400 Imperial Hwy.
Norwalk, CA 90650
Hours: M-F: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.<br.

Lancaster Location
44509 16th St. West, Suite 101
Lancaster, CA 93534
M-F: 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

LAX / Courthouse Location
11701 S. La Cienega Blvd., 6th. Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90045
M-F: 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Van Nuys Location
14340 W. Sylvan St.
Van Nuys, CA 91401
M-F: 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

If you are mailing your lien documents (versus presenting them in person for filing), you must send them to this location/address:

Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk
Document Analysis and Recording Section
P.O. Box 1250
Norwalk, CA 90651-1250

What is Los Angeles County's Recording Backlog?

Hard to say, but probably long. County backlogs can be long, and Los Angeles mail-filing backlog is notoriously long.

The Los Angeles County Recorder does not publish how long their mail backlog is…but you can get a small hint by looking at how long it takes to get something recorded even in person! Here is how they describe this period:

All courier services, third-party representatives, attorney services and messengers must drop off Deeds, Deed of Trust, Leases, and Notice of Default submitted for recording. Documents will be ready for pick-up within 3 business days.

An examiner will review submitted document for proper completion, collect the appropriate fees and taxes, and record your document. The original document will be mailed to you within 4 to 6 weeks (after we complete the process of adding your document to our database for archival retention).


Make sure you send your mechanics lien by in-person delivery or courier. Mailed liens are not immediately recorded and can face waits of more than 8 weeks before they are processed or returned in Los Angeles.

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

If the project is located in Los Angeles county, then yes, you will want to record your lien with the LA County Recorder’s office.

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

LA County publishes a long list of requirements for document recording, but only a few of the items apply to mechanic’s lien claims. Here are those items.

  1.  The property must be located in Los Angeles County. (C.C. § 1169)
  2. The document must be authorized or required by law to be recorded. (G.C. § 27201)
  3. Signatures must be original unless the document is a certified copy issued by the appropriate custodian of the public record. (G.C. § 27201b, G.C. § 27279, Evidence Code § 1530)
  4. Include the name of the party requesting the recording and a name and address where the document can be returned. (G.C. § 27361.6)
  5. The document must be properly acknowledged, unless exempt. California requires an (all-purpose acknowledgement). (G.C. §27201, 27289, 27285, 27287, 27288; C.C. § 1189)
  6. Documents must be clearly legible in order to produce a readable photographic record. This pertains to the document text, notary seals, certificates and other attachments, such as legal descriptions. (Gov. 27361.7)
  7. Include the recording fees.

What are the margin & page size requirements to file a lien in Los Angeles 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.

On the left 3.5 inches across, put the name and address of the party requesting the recording, and the address where the document is to be returned following recording.

The remainder of this space (the right 5 inches) is reserved for use by the Registrar-Recorder to enter the official recording information.

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. Download the Los Angeles County Recorder’s Cover Sheet here, if needed.

How can I make payment to the Los Angeles County Recorder?

Los Angeles 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/Credit Cards: American Express®, Discover®, MasterCard® or Visa®. Note that an additional $1.75 service fee will be added to your purchase when paying with a debit/credit card.
  • Check or Cashier’s Check. Note that valid identification (i.e., driver’s license) of the signer is required and must be presented at time of recording. Out-of-state checks are accepted, but temporary and foreign checks are not accepted. Checks should be made payable to the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.

Payment Options for Recording by Mail

Check, Cashier’s Check or Money Order: Make payable to the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. Out-of-state checks are accepted, but not temporary or foreign checks.

If you are unsure of the fees, submit a blank check indicating on the Memo field “NOT TO EXCEED $[fill in amount].”

Send documents and payment to:
Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk
Document Analysis and Recording Section
P.O. Box 1250
Norwalk, CA 90651-1250.

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

The Los Angeles County Recorder’s “base fee” to file a mechanics lien is $95, and includes 1 page. Each additional page costs $3.00.

If your document does comply with margin and print requirements, you may also be charged one of the following penalties:

Nonconforming Fee: $3 per page that is not 8.5 by 11 inches in size (not to exceed 8.5 by 14 inches).

Penalty Print: $1 for each page where penalty print appears, which is defined as “wording added to the printed form that is spaced either more than nine lines per vertical inch, has more than 22 characters and spaces per inch measured horizontally, for not less than three inches in one sentence.”

Indexing Fee: If your lien mentions more than 10 names that must be indexed, you will be charged $4 for each additional group of 10 names.

Fees to obtain a copy
There are also fees charged to get a copy back from the recorder.

Conformed Copy: Free
Certified Copy: $6 first page, $3 additional
Plain Copy: $5 first page, $3 each additional.

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

At the time of recording you can purchase a certified copy from the county (fees above). In this case the county will make a copy for you, and certify it.

You can also bring your own copy of the original document to the county when you record it, and they will stamp it to look just like the original. This is called a “conformed” copy and is not certified. It is free to get 1 conformed copy. Each additional is $5.00 for the first page and $3.00 for each additional page.

Other than at the time of recording, requesting a Certified Copy of your recording in-person can only be done at the following office:
Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk
Real Estate Records
12400 Imperial Hwy, Room 2207
Norwalk, CA 90650
(800) 201-8999
Office Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday – Friday, except holidays

To do this by Mail:
Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk
Real Estate Records Section
P.O. Box 1130
Norwalk, CA 90651-1130

To do this online:

Which courier(s) can help me file a mechanics lien in Los Angeles County?

There are many courier services in Los Angeles. We recommend DDS Legal Services for courier services to the Los Angeles county recorder’s office.

Do I have the right to file a mechanics lien in Los Angeles, 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 Los Angeles County, California.

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

When is the deadline to file a lien in Los Angeles?

In Los Angeles County, California, your deadline to file a mechanics lien is dependent upon your role in the project. A direct contractor must record his claim of lien after completion of the direct contract, and either ninety (90) days after completion of the work of improvement, or sixty (60) days after the owner records a Notice of Completion or Cessation; whichever is sooner.

What are the steps to filing a mechanics lien in Los Angeles County?

Step 1: Get The Right Form & Meet Margin Requirements

When you show up at the Los Angeles County Recorder’s office you need to have everything right and ready to go with your mechanics lien form.  Here are a few key things to keep in mind:

Use the right mechanics lien form. You can download a free California mechanics lien form here.

Make sure you fill it out completely right, it includes all of the required information, and that you also include an affidavit of service. Check out this article on How to File A California Mechanics Lien for detailed instructions on how to fill out and serve your mechanics lien form.

Put all the required recording information on the top of the first page…or use a Los Angeles County Recorder cover page!  This is really important. All documents recorded in Los Angeles County must have certain information on the top of the first page.  According to the county, “the first page of the document must reserve a minimum of 2.5 inches down from the top of the page, of which the left 3.5 inches across is used by the party requesting recording to enter name and address to which the document is to be returned following recording. The remainder of this space is reserved for use by the Registrar-Recorder to enter the official recording information.”   You can change your mechanics lien form to comply with this requirement, or you can just use the Los Angeles County Recorder’s Cover Sheet.

Get your margins right! In Los Angeles:

  • Page size must be 8.5 x 11 inches
  • Must have 2.5 inches on top of first page reserved (see above)
  • 0.5 inches must be blank on each side of the document

Step 2: Calculating Your LA County Filing Fees

You need to pay the exact filing fee to get your mechanics lien recorded in Los Angeles County.  Generally speaking, a mechanics lien filing is going to cost you almost $100 in filing fees! It is $95 for the first page and $3 for additional page, not including charges for getting a certified copy back, or non-conforming margins or page size penalties. Los Angeles County’s specific filing fee calculations and payment information is below.

Step 3:  Serving the Mechanics Lien

As explained in detail in our How to File A California Mechanics Lien, you must serve your California mechanics lien before filing it. When you arrive at the Los Angeles County Recorder’s office, you must have an “Affidavit of Service” ready and prepared to file with your lien claim. Therefore, after you have everything ready go to, you need to make sure you’ve already finished this step before going to the county.

Step 4: Delivering Lien to LA County Recorder

You’re at the final step — actually delivering the lien to the county recorder office. Filing your mechanics lien electronically in Los Angeles is not available to contractors and suppliers directly, but is only available through qualified and registered third-party lien filing services.  You will either need to send your lien to LA County for filing by mail, or deliver it in person.  Because of Los Angeles County’s backlog, it’s highly recommended to deliver the lien in person for filing. Practical information on where to go with your lien is below.

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