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CAN YOU FILE A LIEN IN CALIFORNIA WITHOUT A SIGNED CONTRACT

CaliforniaRight to Lien

CLIENT NEVER SIGNED MY CONTRACT. MY CONTRACT CALLS FOR $5000.00 PAYMENT AFTER CLIENT APPROVES THE DESIGN. HE SIGNED OFF ON THE DESIGN DRAWING AND HAS ONLY PAYED ME $2,500.00 HE IS STOPPING THE JOB AND REFUSED TO PAY THE $2,500.00 BALANCE FOR ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN SERVICES AS STIPULATED IN THE UNSIGNED CONTRACT AGREEMENT. I AM A LICENSED ARCHITECTS.

1 reply

Nov 12, 2018
That's a good question, and it's one we get pretty often at the Construction Legal Center. California does not specifically require that a contract be agreed to in writing in order to give rise to lien rights. Of course, having a signed, written contract is a good idea, and licensing rules may even require written contracts. But, the mere fact that a contract was not in writing will not prohibit a claimant from filing a valid lien. Note, of course, that in order to give rise to lien rights, the work performed must be authorized (meaning, the owner did in fact agree to the work), and the property must have been improved by the work performed. California does provide protection for design professionals even where property is not improved though under § 8300-8318 of the California Civil Code.
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