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Did work as a subcontractor but did not submit a preliminary notice within 20 days of completion of work. What recourse do we have for recording a lien?

CaliforniaLien DeadlinesMechanics LienPreliminary Notice

Our company provided labor as a subcontractor to a primary contractor for a residential homeowner. The contractor is more than 30 days past due on their payment to us. It is not our customary practice to send preliminary lien notices to homeowners so we missed the 20 day window to submit one to the homeowner. What recourse do we have in recording a lien for the unpaid invoice?

1 reply

Nov 21, 2017
In California, if the 20 day notice period has passed, notice can still be sent. However, it will only preserve lien rights with respect to the work for the 20 days preceding the service of the notice. So if no work has been done in the last 20 days, sending notice would not protect any potential rights. The failure to provide a preliminary notice to all required parties, and in compliance with the form and time requirements set forth, is fatal to a lien in California. However, it's worth noting that a "laborer" is not required to give preliminary notice- though this refers to an individual laborer, not a subcontractor supplying labor. Sending a document such as a Notice of Intent To Lien could still help spur payment, though, even when the ability to file a lien is not actually present. Beyond that, it's a good idea to consult with a local construction attorney to assess your situation.
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