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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>Contractor sent us a preliminary 20 day notice stating that job the estimate price of job, labor, etc. is $500,000. We have no contract with this contractor and he has not worked on site. He only was named on permits when they were pulled and on the plans. How do we assure ourselves that he does not lien our home?

Contractor sent us a preliminary 20 day notice stating that job the estimate price of job, labor, etc. is $500,000. We have no contract with this contractor and he has not worked on site. He only was named on permits when they were pulled and on the plans. How do we assure ourselves that he does not lien our home?

CaliforniaMechanics LienRight to Lien

Contractor does not have a contract with us. Contractor does not have any of his workers with us. Contractor has not paid for any material or workers as we have paid directly. Permit is in contractor's name though city says that we can take him off. Is our home at risk to have a mechanics lien filed against it?

1 reply

Nov 27, 2018
Being in a position in which a mechanics lien has been threatened to be filed against your property is frustrating. And when the potential mechanics lien would be fraudulent, it's infuriating.

While I would love to say that it is impossible for clearly improper mechanics liens to be filed, but that is not the case. Recorders offices rarely (and shouldn't) act as gatekeepers for recording documents, including mechanics liens. This means that an improper, unenforceable, and invalid lien can still be recorded.

If a property owner is not looking to sell or refinance their property, or if any construction lending draw requirements don't preclude mechanics liens, a lien is, while annoying, generally inconsequential until enforced. All mechanics liens expire after a certain amount of time. In California, a mechanics lien expires and becomes unenforceable 90 days after the lien is filed. If the lien is expired, the property owner may petition the court for its removal. Additionally, a lien claimant can petition the court for a judgment that no lien exists, and record that document to extinguish the lien from the record.

Filing a fraudulent lien is crime in California, and can subject the false claimant to penalties (up to $75,000 if the lien was on a single family residence), in addition to other penalties. Additionally, a claim for slander of title can be made against the improper filer, and damages including attorneys' fees may be recovered.
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