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Can a roofer file a lien against

California

We hired a roofer on or about July 18,2018 for a metal roof. He was flaky from the beginning. Left our ripped off roofing materials on our roof for over a week. Metal for our roof was delivered mid September. They were last at our job October 24,2018 and had not showed up for weeks. (Our roof still has 2-3 weeks of solid work). After 2 weeks of not showing up we had finally had it because this was not the first or second or third time he had done this. So we asked if he minded if we hired someone else to finish the job because while he was not showing up we had another roofer come look at his work and he could not believe the poor craftsmanship. Our roofers left the roof completely exposed and cut the paper. (It is now winter)There are panels that are not fastened. They literally cut the panels like a 2 year old there is tubes of caulking just dripping out of the metal panels. There is metal patch jobs where they messed up so they just cut pieces of metal and caulked the heck out of it. It’s absolutley horrendous. The actual roofer has never come out to the job. We have already paid the roofer 1/2 and now he wants additional money. He just emailed a lien notice to us but isn’t it not proper since it would be considered late? Start date was July Materials delivered sept 14 Date last worked October 24 He is a abosolute joke and would make up lies about why they didn’t show up made me go get our own paint to paint the roof jacks. Lied even said one of his employees had a baby when he didn’t. He even ordered the wrong ridge and rake metal for our roof and our gutter man noticed and told us that a majority of our metal is wrong and our roofer had to reorder. Then his workers didn’t use half of the metal they ordered and that metal was suppose to go under all the long panels. So approximately $5,000 in metal is wasted. This roofer clearly has never done a metal roof before. This roofer is just a scam and now we have to pay to have all of his work fixed. What rights do we have?

1 reply

Nov 26, 2018
I'm sorry to hear about that - it sounds awful. First, regarding California pre-lien notice (we call them "preliminary notices"), you're right to wonder about the timeliness of notice sent - but it's also important to consider whether notice is required at all. In California, notice must be sent within 20 days of furnishing labor and/or materials. Notice can be sent later than that, but late notice will only provide protection for the work performed 20 days before notice is sent, then the remainder of work. However, when a claimant has been hired directly by the property owner, notice might not be required - prime contractors only need to send notice to the construction lender if one is present on the job. Note, though, that mechanics lien rights only exist for work that has been performed and unpaid. If payment is current but a contract exists for the remainder of work - valid lien rights will not exist for work not yet performed. Of course, while lien rights may not exist on a job, that doesn't mean a lien can't be filed. County recorders typically have neither the bandwidth nor the authority to investigate each claim made - so an invalid lien could certainly be filed. If filed, that lien might be removed, but it could still create some headaches (and costs) for an owner. Changing gears a bit, when a party has performed shoddy work, there are a number of potential options to try and right the situation. For one, if the party is licensed and bonded, filing a complaint against the contractor with the Contractors Licensing Board could help make sure the contractor is penalized, and a claim against their license bond could help recover payment. If the contractor is not licensed, an owner may be entitled to recover all funds already paid to the contractor - California takes licensure very seriously. And finally, where a contractor has breached their agreement to perform work, typically, an owner will be entitled to terminate that agreement and potentially seek damages. However, it would be wise to reach out to a local construction attorney before deciding on a course of action. They'll be able to review any documentation, communications, and other information to more clearly understand the circumstances and advise you on how best to proceed.
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