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Can we file a lien? We have no signed contract. Verbal contract only.

CaliforniaConstruction ContractMechanics Lien

Customer demanded we stop work and has filed a complaint with CSLB claiming we abandoned work and are demanding repayment of $4000 despite the fact they owe us $1689. Our case is in mediation with the state contractors board however customer is declining all counter-offers. Are we entitled to file a lien to recover the money they owe us?

1 reply

Jun 21, 2018
The question of “Can I file a lien even though I don’t have a written contract?” pops up all the time on construction projects. Verbal agreements are common in the construction industry, but finding answers on how lien rights apply to contracts that are not written and signed can be a challenge.

In California, the mechanics lien statute doesn't specifically require a written contract in order to file a mechanics lien. While a contract of some sort is required, in CA “contract means an agreement that provides for all or part of a work or improvement” with no requirement that the contract giving rise to the mechanics lien must be written instead of oral.

Note, however, that there may be licensing requirements related to written contracts, especially surrounding work on residential property.
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