Guide to filing a mechanics lien in San Francisco County

Need to file a mechanic’s lien with the San Francisco County Recorder?  Well, since SF is the 4th biggest city in the California and the 13th most populous city in the entire country, you may find that the recording & government offices there are busy, and tough to navigate. Getting your mechanics lien filed may consume hours of your time and cause headaches.  We are here to help with this.  Everything you need to know about getting a lien filed in San Francisco is right here. Here is some practical guidance on how to get your lien filed with the county recorder in SF. You may also want to consult our step-by-step guide to Filing A California Mechanics Lien.

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

The San Francisco Recorder’s Office that files mechanics liens is located at:

1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
City Hall, Room 190
San Francisco, CA 94102-4698

Phone: (415) 554-5596

What is San Francisco County's Recording Backlog?

The San Francisco County Recorder does not publicly disclose information regarding recording backlogs.

Should I file my mechanics lien in San Francisco County?

If the project is located in San Francisco county, then yes, you will want to record your lien with the San Francisco Recorder’s office.

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

The San Francisco Recorder outlines the following recording requirements:

Recording Jurisdiction
Instruments entitled to be recorded must be recorded in the county in which the real property affected is located (Civil Code 1169).

Form Standardization
Document must contain black or blue ink on white paper.  All pages must be 8 ½” by 11″. There is a surcharge of $3 per page for every page of a document in which any portion of the document is not 8 ½” by 11″.  Any page over 8 ½” by 14″ will not be accepted for recording.  (Gov. Code 27361.5).

Requesting Party and Return Address
The left-hand 3 ½” of the top 2 ½” of the first page shall be used for the name of person requesting recordation and the name and mailing address where the document should be mailed after recording (Gov. Code 27361.6).

Reservation of Space
Document must have at least a ½” margin on the two vertical sides; the right-hand 5″ of the top 2 ½” shall be reserved for the recorder label.  In the event the first page of the document does not contain sufficient space, a separate page shall be attached by the requesting party to the front of the document. This separate page is now considered the first page of the document (Gov. Code 27361.6).

Legibility/Photographability
Document must be legible and capable of producing a readable photographic record. Whenever a document, or portion of a document, is not sufficiently legible to produce a readable photographic record, a legible copy may be attached and shall be certified by the party creating the copy to be a true copy of the original.  Legible copy also pertains to notary seals, certificates and other appendages thereto (Gov. Code 27361.7).

Document Titles
All document titles must be identified on the first page, immediately below the space reserved for the recorder label (Gov. Code 27324).

Exhibits
Exhibits must be clearly marked as such and submitted with the respective document (Gov. Code 27361.1).

Signatures
Document must contain original signatures OR be a certified copy of the original; certified copies must be unaltered (Gov. Code 27201(b)).

Legible Names of Party(ies) to be Indexed
Names of party(ies) to be indexed must be legibly printed or typed near all signatures and be consistent throughout the entire document (Gov. Code 27280.5).

Modifying or Releasing Interest
Any document which modifies or releases a previously recorded document shall state the names of all parties affected and being released, the county of recordation, the document number (or book and page), and the date of the recordation of the document being modified or released (Gov. Code 27361.6).

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

The San Francisco Assessor-Recorder’s page size and margin specifications are as follows:

Mechanics liens must be printed on paper no larger than 8.5 x 11.

The left-hand 3 ½” of the top 2 ½” of the first page shall be used for the name of person requesting recordation and the name and mailing address where the document should be mailed after recording (Gov. Code 27361.6).

Documents must have at least a ½” margin on the two vertical sides; the right-hand 5″ of the top 2 ½” shall be reserved for the recorder label.  In the event the first page of the document does not contain sufficient space, a separate page shall be attached by the requesting party to the front of the document. This separate page is now considered the first page of the document (Gov. Code 27361.6)

Mechanics liens must be printed in black ink.

How can I make payment to the Orange County Recorder's Office?

The San Francisco County Recorder accepts the following forms of payment:

Checks

Cash

All major debit/credit cards

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

The San Francisco County Recorder’s Office recording fees are as follows:

Recording

$14 for the first page
$3 for each following page

Copies

$3 per page
$.50 for each additional page

$1 for a certified copy

Notice fees

$22 to file a preliminary 20 day notice

How do I get a recorded copy of my lien from the San Francisco County Recorder's Office?

You can obtain a recorded copy of your lien by visiting the San Francisco County Assessor-Recorder’s Office in person at:

1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
City Hall, Room 190
San Francisco, CA 94102-4698

Phone: (415) 554-5596

This can also be done by mail:

“Download, complete, and mail your request form to our main office. Requests by mail will only be accepted if a specific document number is provided (search www.Criis.com for recorded documents for years 2000 to present. Any documents recorded prior to 2000 must be searched in person). Complete and send the Recorded Document Request Form By Mail along with payment.  Copy fees are based on the number of pages per document.  Acceptable payments are pre-printed name and address (no P.O. Boxes or Out-of-State), CA drawn bank check or money order/Cashier’s Check payable to the “San Francisco Assessor-Recorder”.

If you are unsure of the number of pages within the document, you may write on your check, below the amount line, “NTE” for “Not To Exceed” and indicate a dollar amount. The Recorder staff will write in the exact amount in the dollar amount line and complete the second line on your check to indicate the exact amount to be charged to your bank account.”