Menu
Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>Can a preliminary notice, followed by intent to lean, actual lean and stop notice be recorded, but at the same time a small claims suit filed on the same project with unpaid balance of $3,600? Seems, it can be easier and faster to receive judgement from small claims. Please, advise.

Can a preliminary notice, followed by intent to lean, actual lean and stop notice be recorded, but at the same time a small claims suit filed on the same project with unpaid balance of $3,600? Seems, it can be easier and faster to receive judgement from small claims. Please, advise.

CaliforniaLawsuitMechanics LienPayment DisputesRecovery Options

A developer contacted me to refinish an exterior door. Door was constructed from material not designed for exterior use. Developed was warned of this in writing, still agreed to perform a temporary service and have new doors constructed at later time. After services were performed, developer was not satisfied with results, although this was described in writing prior to entering a contract with me. A balance of $3,600 is owed to me. Developer refuses to explain why balance wasnt paid and makes up excuses for not returning calls (excuses vary from family emergencies, busy schedule, their company not paying anyone sooner than 30 days, etc...). At this time its been 20 days since begining of project, which was completed 5 days later. Materials deposit was paid on the first day of labor. I am not a licensed contractor. Thank you!

1 reply

Dec 19, 2017
I'm sorry to hear that. First, California law requires contractors who are required to be licensed to actually be licensed in order to file a valid mechanics lien. If licensure was required for the job and you're unlicensed, lien rights will likely not be available. Next, there are a number of reasons why a mechanics lien may be cleaner (and safer) than a claim in small claims court. When a valid and provable debt is present, taking a claim to small claims court is a risky play. Small claims court can be extremely unpredictable, and if you find yourself on the losing end, you may be out of luck with your payment claim. A loss in small claims court would spell all sorts of problems with a lien claim (and could potentially render the lien invalid, frivolous, or even fraudulent). Regarding the speed of a mechanics lien, this should not be measured by the amount of time between a lien filing and lien foreclosure. Generally, a mechanics lien claim will be resolved before the lien must be foreclosed. However, if the dispute is not resolved, having the ability to foreclose the lien as a last resort is an incredibly effective backup option. In small claims court, no such security will exist, and there's no guarantee of a speedy or fair resolution.
0 likes

Add your answer or comment

Not the answer you were looking for? Check out other Lawsuit topics or ask your own question