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Can I file a preliminary lien if the three month job is 1-2 weeks from being complete?

CaliforniaPreliminary NoticeRight to Lien

We are a sub. The General Contractor did a PO as a "base contract" and change orders for each additional invoice after that. We are up to $200k in CO'd invoices. We are up to $900k in billing without payment (not received a anything yet). Job started in about August and will go through first half of November approx.

1 reply

Oct 23, 2018
I'm very sorry to hear that. California is a state that specifically allows for late notice, but notice sent later than 20 days after a claimant's first furnishing will only be partially effective. Specifically, a notice sent late will only preserve the right to lien for the work/materials provided 20 days prior to the notice, and all work/material that comes afterward. While that may represent a relatively insignificant portion of a claimant's work provided, securing payment for some work is better than securing payment for no work. Plus, a lien filing, regardless of the amount, can put a serious hold on the project, and it will demand the attention of the claimant's customer and the property owner. Thus, while a lien might not be available for the full amount of what's owed, utilizing a lien for a partial amount can provide a lot of leverage for the remainder of what's owed. Finally, it's also worth noting that receipt of a preliminary notice could scare a contractor and be perceived that a lien claim is coming - and that might help with payment. Alternatively, though, a contractor familiar with California's lien laws might note that work provided prior to that notice would be unprotected by lien rights. Of course, just because a mechanics lien might not be available does not mean that those amounts are not recoverable. zlien discusses that idea in this article: Other Options For Recovery. This article may also be helpful: What Do I Do If I Miss a Preliminary Notice Deadline?
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