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Can a sub contractor with no singed contract lien a property in california

CaliforniaConstruction ContractMechanics Lien

The contractor was removed from the job, due to poor performance and poor quility of work. There was no signed contract and only a verble agreement. But they failed in all parts to the verble agreement. They demanding money for work and materials rendard but have been replaced by another contractor and the new contractor is reduing most of what the first contractor is doing. the first contractor has been paid for most of there work but now has to be redone for the most part, above and beyond what they are owed. Do they have any legal rights?

1 reply

Mar 7, 2018
First, that work was done pursuant to a verbal contract (rather than a written one) will not necessarily be fatal to a mechanics lien claim in California. Anyway, regarding their legal rights, if a contractor has been paid what they're owed, they likely will not have a (valid) claim for recovery. Specifically, mechanics liens are available to those who have gone unpaid for their work put into improving property. If nothing is owed for the work a party has completed, they will not be able to file a valid mechanics lien. Granted, a lien filing might actually occur - there is little stopping a contractor from going rogue and filing a lien on the property anyway. However, severe penalties come into play when liens are filed frivolously or in bad faith, which helps deter improper filings. Finally, if the contractor was only under verbal agreement and the work was poorly done, it may be worth looking into whether that contractor was licensed to perform the work they did on the property (if licensing is required). California takes contractor licensing very seriously, and any sums paid to an unlicensed contractor may be recoverable as a result of their performing unlicensed work. Plus, in California, unlicensed contractors cannot bring suit for nonpayment, and they cannot file mechanics liens where licensure is required.
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