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Can I file a mechanics lien?

California

We are a general contractor doing insurance work. We did the mitigation work and started the rebuild then were kicked off the job Sept 27th. I want to lien them because they won't meet with us to settle up for work done and are playing games with communication. They won't answer me for days if at all.

2 replies

Oct 14, 2020

You need to record a lien as soon as you can so you do not miss your chance to do so. Make sure you follow all of the proper procedures so that your lien is valid. Recording the lien against the owner's property gives you leverage, since recording the lien gives you a chance to take the property and sell it if you do not get paid. However, it could be a lengthy process to get you to the point where you can sell the property. Also, look at your contract and see if your contract gives you attorneys' fees and costs if you prevail. This can be used as a bargaining chip as well, since you can tell the owner he/she will pay $ now or $$ later. Once you lien the property, serve the owner as required and then see if they are interrested in talking to you about payment. In California, you have a short window from the time you record the lien and the time you need to file a lawsuit to enforce the lien. Make sure you follow that timeline as well. 

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Oct 14, 2020

As a GC, you need to record a lien within 60 days of recordation of a Notice of Completion (NOC), or 90 days of completion or cessation if no NOC is/was recorded. Being that you were kicked off the job on 9/27/20, you have some time, but if you're not getting paid you may as well proceed sooner rather than later, as the lien may be the leverage you need to get paid. Good luck.

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