can i file a california preliminary notice after work is complete

1 month ago

was contracted as subcontractor from general contractor.
general playing games on sending payment due from April
sent $1,000.00 then $500.00 after being contacted and told need full $4,000.00 payment from terms on invoices and statements.
should i file small claims?

Chief Legal Officer Levelset

Figuring out when a notice must (or can) be filed can be tricky, let’s take a look.

In California, all parties on a construction project (other than wage laborers) are required to send a preliminary notice in order to retain the ability to file a lien, if needed. Generally, that preliminary notice is required to be sent within 20 days of first furnishing labor or material to the project.

However, preliminary notice can be sent after that 20-day deadline and still be (at least partially) effective. If the notice is sent later than 20 days from first furnishing labor or material, the notice is effective to retain a claimant’s lien rights for labor or materials provided beginning 20 days before the notice was provided.

However, if no labor or material was provided in the last 20 days, there would be nothing for a late notice to protect. Additionally, the deadline to file a lien in California is 90 days from the completion of the project as a whole. So, if there is still work that can be protected by a late notice, the mechanics lien deadline itself must be watched and complied with.

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