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Can I file a mechanic Lien on a builder / owner

CaliforniaMechanics LienNotice of Intent to Lien

We have property that the builder damaged pipes and bushes we have bills to new project manager and all attempts to get damage paid and other property repair can we put a lien on property to prevent him from sailing said project before he pays us

1 reply

May 28, 2019
I'm sorry to hear you've had trouble on this job, but I'm not quite sure I understand the situation described above. Still, covering some basics of California's mechanics lien laws should help here.

California grants lien rights pretty broadly. Those who were hired directly by the property owner will have the right to lien, as well as subcontractors, material suppliers, equipment lessors, laborers - really, just about every party who performs authorized work which permanently improves the project property will have the right to lien in California. Of course, there are strict licensing requirements, so if a license is required, the lien claimant must have that license in order to lien. There are notice requirements as well. In order to preserve the right to lien, every party who was hired by someone other than the property owner must send a preliminary notice. Granted, laborers are exempt from having to send notice.

Of course, it's still important to understand exactly how mechanics liens work. When a lien is filed, that lien attaches to the project property and creates an interest in the property for the lien claimant, which clouds the owner's title. This lien, in and of itself, doesn't automatically prevent the sale of property as a matter of law. If the buyer is ok with a lien on the property, they could still go forward with the purchase (and the lien would remain on the property). However, as a practical matter, buyers don't want to buy property with a lien on it, and mortgage and title companies might not even allow it at all. So keep in mind - even when a property is liened, there's a chance the property is sold. But even if that sale takes place, the claimant's lien will remain on the property and can still lead to payment.

As a last and final note, keep in mind that the mere warning or threat of lien can be an effective payment recovery tool. By sending a document like a Notice of Intent to Lien, a lien claimant can leverage the potential for a lien claim into getting paid - regardless of whether they can or will file a lien. This is because mechanics liens present such a powerful and drastic outcome for property owners - ultimately, if the lien remains unpaid, it could lead to the loss of the property.

For more information on California's lien and notice rules, this resource will be valuable: California Lien & Notice Overview.
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