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California Mechanics Lien for General Contractor (direct contract with property owner), no lender

CaliforniaMechanics LienNotice of Intent to LienPreliminary NoticeRight to Lien

In California a General Contract only needs to file a Preliminary Notice if there is a lender on the job. If there was no lender on the job, in which case the GC did not file a Preliminary Notice, would the GC still be able to file a valid Mechanics Lien?

1 reply

Jun 5, 2019
Good question! As you mentioned above, direct contractors (those hired directly by the property owner) only have to send preliminary notice to the project's lender, if one is present. If no lender is present, a direct contractor does not need to send any notice in order to preserve their right to lien - they can go straight to a lien filing. For other questions regarding California's preliminary notice rules, here's a great article: The Ultimate Guide to California’s 20-Day Preliminary Notice.

Of course, it's worth noting that adding a step before proceeding with a lien filing will often help to compel payment without the need for an actual lien filing. By sending a document like a Notice of Intent to Lien, a contractor can let their customer know they're serious about getting paid, and that they're willing to do what it takes to get what they've earned. It acts as a warning shot, letting them know that if payment isn't made and made soon, a lien will be filed. Considering the drastic nature of mechanics liens, often, contractors can recover payment by simply threatening a lien and can avoid the headache and cost of a lien filing altogether. Plus, if a Notice of Intent to Lien doesn't work, contractors can always proceed with their lien claim anyway. For more on the Notice of Intent to Lien document, this resource has great information: What is a Notice of Intent to Lien?.

For more information on California's lien and notice rules, as well as how to file a California mechanics lien, these resources will be valuable: (1) California Lien and Notice Overview and FAQs; and
(2) How to File a Calfornia Mechanics Lien.
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