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Can a mechanics lien be filed by the general contractor if no preliminary notice was filed?

CaliforniaConstruction ContractMechanics LienPreliminary Notice

I'm a property owner that signed on 12/15/20 a "home improvement contract" standard form (not sure of source) with a representative for a licensed general contractor, not the license owner. The contract lists a series of documents to be incorporated into the contract such as Mechanics Lien Warning, but none of these documents were provided by GC or signed by us. On 2/22/20 we notified the general contractor by phone and email that we were terminating the contract with them due to issues with the project including poor workmanship, building code violations and lack of oversight by the license holder. Our home has a HELOC we are using to help fund the project but not a construction loan per se. We paid for some work even though it was not fully completed or materials bought. Can the GC file a mechanics lien for money they believe is owed them?

5 replies

Apr 6, 2021
A contractor in direct contract with an owner on a private project does not need to provide a Preliminary Notice in order to record a mechanics' lien. There are time limits for recording Mechanics Liens. Your email is unclear on when it was your provided notification that you were terminating the contract. If it was in February of 2020, the time to record a lien has passed. If you meant to say it was in February 2021, then there is still time to record a lien.
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Apr 7, 2021
Thank you David. Yes, I meant 2/20/21 was when we sent the notice. Based on notice given on 2/20/21, when would be the last day he could file a mechanics lien?
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Apr 7, 2021
A contractor must record a mechanics lien within 90 days from the date of completion. Part of the definition of "completion" is where there has been a cessation of labor for a continuous period of 60 days. Based on that definition, it could be as much as 150 days after your notice of termination of the contract. If you recorded and served a valid notice of cessation (I assume you did not) and served it on the contractor, the timing would be different.
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Apr 7, 2021
Thanks David. Is there a link to how to deliver a valid notice of cessation?
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Apr 7, 2021
Here is one form I found on the Internet: http://bozelaw.net/_forms/private/Notice_of_Cessation.pdf This needs to be recorded and served on the general contractor and any subcontractor providing a Preliminary Notice.
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