Client owes for three months work, and has not paid. I have a contractors license in California
Sep 10, 2017
Sorry to hear that you're in this situation, but you can take some comfort that contractors just like you encounter this all of the time. Thousands of liens are filed across the United States every day, and hundreds are filed in California. Getting paid in the construction industry is tricky, and everyone encounters these difficulties sometimes. The important thing is that you're prepared, and you take action before it's too late.
The short answer is that you generally have a mechanics lien right on the job. The question now is whether you've lost it, or if you still have it.
How could you have lost your lien right?
1. If you were required to send notice and didn't. Here, based on the wording of your question, it seems that you contracted directly with the property owner (i.e. your client) to do the work. If you contracted with the property owner directly, it's likely you did not need to send any notice. Those who do not contract directly with the property owner to do work must send a Preliminary Notice at the very start of the job. If you were required to send this notice, and didn't, you likely lost your lien rights. If you didn't need to send the notice, or if you did actually send it, you can go on to #2.
2. Do you still have time? Generally speaking, a mechanics lien can be filed in California within 90 days from when the job is completed. If the job was completed more than 90 days ago...you're going to have missed the window (likely). If the job was completed less than 90 days ago, you're in luck! You still have the right.