Recorded a lien on November 2, 2018 haven’t received any payment from customer or any contact, today 02/06/18 I received a certified letter requesting demand for release of claim of lien, has my legal rights been expired?
Feb 7, 2019
I'm very sorry to hear you've gone unpaid - it happens to often in this industry, and there's nothing more frustrating than when someone refuses to pay what you've earned. California has one of the shortest deadlines for enforcing a mechanics lien. Once a California lien claim has been filed, the lien claimant will have 90 days from the date on which the lien was filed to "enforce" (file suit based on) their lien claim. If this deadline comes and goes, the filed lien will expire and will no longer remain valid or enforceable. In such a situation, it's fairly common for an owner to demand that the lien be released as a result. Further, failure to release an unenforceable lien could potentially result in liability - but at the same time, a claimant might also be able to leverage the release of that lien for payment. zlien discusses lien releases and the expiration of liens in this article: Do you Have to Cancel a Mechanics Lien, or Will It Expire? There are some things to keep in mind though. For one, because the California lien filing deadline is based off of overall project completion (rather than a claimant's last furnishing date), even after a claimant's lien has expired, there could be an opportunity for such a claimant to release their expired lien claim and to file another lien claim if the project is ongoing or was completed fewer than 90 days prior to when the new lien would be filed. Of course, that time frame could be shortened if a California Notice of Completion is filed. Further, even if utilizing the mechanics lien process is no longer an option, there are other options for recovery. For further discussion about California's lien requirements and deadlines, this resource should be valuable: California Lien & Notice FAQs.