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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>as a general contractor, do i need to file a prelim notice to fice a notice of intent to lien & follow up with a mechanics lien if needed

as a general contractor, do i need to file a prelim notice to fice a notice of intent to lien & follow up with a mechanics lien if needed

CaliforniaMechanics LienNotice of Intent to LienPreliminary NoticeRight to Lien

progress payment is 75 days late

1 reply

Jul 1, 2019
Good question. First: it's worth noting that regardless of any notice requirements, a contractor can utilize a Notice of Intent to Lien to attempt to recover construction payments owed but unpaid. A Notice of Intent to Lien is not an official claim, and it isn't an officially required notice in California, so it essentially acts as a formal letter notifying a customer and/or owner that a lien will be filed if the debt remains unpaid. As such, it can be sent regardless of whether a claimant can or will file a lien claim. Still: while a Notice of Intent to Lien is not a required document in California, it can be extremely helpful in recovering payment, and it can help recover payment without the need for proceeding with an actual lien filing. For more information on how a Notice of Intent to Lien works to compel payment, here's a great resource: What is a Notice of Intent to Lien?.

As for preliminary notice requirements...
General contractors hired directly by the property owner will only need to send a California 20-Day Preliminary Notice if there's a lender on the project - and that notice must be made to the lender. Otherwise, general contractors hired by the owner don't have preliminary notice requirements in order to preserve the right to file a California mechanics lien. But, when hired by someone other than the property owner, a preliminary notice must first be sent in order to preserve the right to later file a valid and enforceable lien in California. More on that here: About California Preliminary 20-Day Notices.

For more information on California liens and preliminary notices, these resources will be valuable:
(1) California Mechanics Lien Overview
(2) The Ultimate Guide to California’s 20-Day Preliminary Notice
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