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Can a General Contractor file a mechanics lien or only subcontractors?

CaliforniaMechanics LienRight to Lien

My husband is a general contractor and has done work for a client who is now refusing to pay unless he gives her all his receipts. This is unheard of. As a general contractor can he file a mechanics lien or can only subs do that? If not, what recourse do we have?

1 reply

Nov 7, 2018
Generally, mechanics liens provide protection to parties who furnish labor or materials to improve property. General contractors, sub-contractors, suppliers, equipment lessors, design professionals, and more can qualify to file an enforceable mechanics lien.

In California, GCs are able to file a mechanics lien - but, like other lien claimants, may have preliminary notice requirements. California requires all potential lien claimants other than wage laborers to provide a preliminary notice within 20 days of first furnishing labor or materials to the project to be fully protected. A GC, however, only needs to send the preliminary notice to the construction lender on the project, if any. If the notice is sent later, it protects the value of the labor or material furnished beginning from the date 20 days prior to the date on which the notice was sent.

Additionally, California has strict licensing requirements and parties who must be licensed and are not cannot file a mechanics lien (and can't file suit to be paid, and can be forced to give up what they have been paid already).

Subject to the general mechanics lien requirements, however, GCs are afforded mechanics lien protection to secure the amounts that they are owed.
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