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Can an electritian who did not solved the problem put a lien in the property?

CaliforniaMechanics LienRight to Lien

An electrician says he went to solve an electrical problem to a house I managed But tenant called with the same problem and did not say electritian went I called and paid another electrician. Almost 6 months later I received a bill After I had called another electrician and the owner had to pay him The first electritian is charging 35 to go to the home And 125 for “resetting the braker” turning the braker back up That did not solve the problem but changing the braker by another electrician did Now 1st electritian is threatening to put a mechanic lien in the property I can’t reach the owner who is in Vacation no phone access I am willing to pay the 35 out of my pocket as a manager But if electritian does not accept can he place a mechanic lien? I have proof the owner had to pay another electrician for the electrical problem very near the time he “reset” the braker So really he had not solved the problem and since he did not sent bill buy many month later I was not even aware he had gone there..... Thank you for your answer

1 reply

Dec 4, 2018
That's a fair question. First, it's worth mentioning that regardless of whether a claimant has a valid right to lien - typically, a mechanics lien filing can still occur. That is, regardless of whether the filed lien would ultimately hold up, a claimant can typically place their lien for recording. This is because county recorders typically have neither the authority nor the bandwidth to investigate each claim made. Of course, an owner or their contractor can work to have the lien removed, and when there are glaring issues with a filed mechanics lien, it can typically be removed without too much issue. More on that here: How to Remove a Frivolous Lien. But back to the question at hand - there are strict rules regarding what kinds of work give rise to lien rights, as well as timing and notice requirements. Mechanics lien rights are available when a claimant has performed work that has permanently improved the project property. That is - it must be a lasting improvement that alters the property in some way. Depending on the work performed, an electrician may be entitled to lien. However, when a party does very insignificant work that does not actually affect the underlying property, typically, lien rights will not arise. Further, when a mechanics lien claimant has been hired by someone other than the owner of the property, in order to preserve the right to lien, notice is very typically required to preserve the right to lien. Without sending notice, a lien claimant can lose an otherwise valid right to lien. Finally, the lien deadline. In California, like other states, the deadline to file a mechanics lien is very strict. This deadline is 90 days form the completion of the work of improvement for a direct contractor, and 90 days after the last furnishing date for a party hired by someone other than the owner. There are some caveats that can alter the timeline for filing a lien, but these details can only shorten the timeframe for filing. You can learn more about them here: California Lien and Notice FAQs. Lastly, as a practical matter, note that filing a mechanics lien in California will, in all likelihood, cost more than $125 dollars. Where filing a lien would cost more than the amount to be secured by that lien - it would seem unlikely that filing a lien would be a possibility. Of course, it's possible - and a vengeful contractor might decide it's worthwhile.
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