Guide to filing a mechanics lien in San Mateo County

Getting to know California’s lien laws and your county recorder’s requirements makes filing a lien with the San Mateo County Recorder that much simpler. That’s because San Mateo County is big, and any missteps when preparing your claim means time-costing setbacks and headaches.

Two of the most important areas of California lien law place limitations on who can and who cannot file a mechanics lien. They are:

  • Unlicensed contractors who are performing work that requires a license don’t have the right to file a mechanics lien.
  • Failure to submit a California Preliminary Notice means you lose your right to file a mechanics lien.

If you meet these two prerequisites, the chances are you have strong lien rights in California. However, we recommend you check out the above link to take a deeper dive into the California lien laws.

To help you get acquainted with the San Mateo County Recorder, this page includes useful information regarding the San Mateo County Recorder’s Office. Here, you can learn San Mateo’s recording and formatting requirements, refer to San Mateo’s fee schedule, and find contact information so you can get in touch if you have any questions.

For a complete description of the lien filing process and California’s lien laws, check out our step-by-step guide to filing a California mechanics lien.

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

You can file your mechanic liens in person or by mail.

If recording in person, you must bring the original document or a certified copy of an original document to the:

Recorder Division
555 County Center, First Floor
Redwood City, CA 94063
Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., excluding holidays

If submitting documents by mail, you must include a pre-printed check or money order for the amount of the approriate recording fee. Checks should be made payable to: San Mateo County Recorder.

Mail the document and payment to the:

Recorder Division
555 County Center
Redwood City, CA 94063-1665

 

What is San Mateo County's Recording Backlog?

The San Mateo County Clerk-Recorder does not publicly disclose information on recording backlog. However, note that if your document meets all of the requirements and you pay the proper fees, your document will be recorded while you wait. The original recorded document will be returned to you in approximately four to six weeks.

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

If the property is located in San Mateo County, then yes, you will want to record your lien with the San Mateo County Clerk-Recorder’s office.

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

All documents submitted for recording must meet certain requirements. The San Mateo County Clerk-Recorder’s basic recording requirements are as follows:

Property must be located in the county where the document is presented for recording. (CC 1169)

Be authorized or required by law to be recorded. (GC 27201)

Meet statutory requirements for that document.

Be submitted with the proper fees and taxes. (GC 6301, 27201, 27361)

Be photographically reproducible by microphotographic process. (GC27201, 27361.6, 27361.7)

 

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

Document Size: All documents must comply with the 8 1/2″ x 11″ standard paper size and not to exceed 8 1/2″ x 14″. An additional fee of $3 will be charged for each page that is not 8 1/2″ x 11″.

Margins: A page margin of at least 1/2″ wide on both sides of the page is required on all pages.

The right-hand 5” of the top 2 1/2″ of the first page must be kept clear for the Recorder’s use.

The left-hand 3 1/2″ of the top 2 1/2″ of the first page is to be used by the public for the return mailing address and identification of the person requesting the recording.

If the document does not comply with the top-of-page requirements, a separate coversheet (Recording Cover Sheet) will be attached to the front of the document. This cover sheet is now considered the first page of the document.

The document title shall appear on the first page, immediately below the spaces reserved for the return address and the Recorder. The space reserved for the return address and the Recorder’s use is an area 2 1/2″ deep extending the full width of the top of the page.

How can I make payment to the San Mateo County Recorder?

If recording in person, you may choose one of these payment options:

Cash
Check (payable against a U.S.A. bank)
Credit/Debit card (Visa/MasterCard only, except where otherwise noted)

If submitting documents by mail, you must include a pre-printed check or money order for the amount of the appropriate recording fee. Checks should be made payable to: San Mateo County Clerk-Recorder.

Mail the document and payment to the:

Recorder Division
555 County Center
Redwood City, CA 94063-1665

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

The San Mateo County Clerk-Recorder’s basic recording fee is $14.00 for the first page and $3.00 for each additional page.

Additional recording fees.

Penalty: Undersized print (every page of the document): $1.00
Penalty: Oversized page (every page of the document)
: $3.00
Additional Indexing: $1.00 (per group of 10 names after
initial 10)
Release of lien executed by state or local govt, if lien was recorded without fee: $12.00

Copy Fees

Regular/Recorded Copy: $5.00 for the first page and $1.00 for each subsequent page

Certified Copy: $5.00 for the certification, in addition to the regular copy fees

Conformed Copy: $10.00

 

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

You can obtain a recorded copy of your lien in person or by mail:

In Person

You can visit the San Mateo County Clerk-Recorder’s office at:

555 County Center, 1st floor
Redwood City, CA 94063
Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., excluding holidays
and use one of the public terminals to locate the document.

By Mail
You must obtain the necessary information listed below to submit your written request by accessing the San Mateo County Clerk-Recorder’s Online Grantee/Grantor Database and include the information on your written request:

* Name(s) of the parties involved (Grantee/Grantor)
* Document type (Grant Deed, Lien, Reconveyance, etc.)
* Date the document was recorded
* Recording number of the document

Do I have the right to file a mechanics lien in San Mateo County, CA?

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 San Mateo County, California.

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

What is the fee to file a CA Preliminary Notice in San Mateo County?

The fee to file a California Preliminary Notice in San Mateo County is $84.00.

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