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do i need to send multiple prelims to individual owners

CaliforniaMechanics LienPreliminary NoticeRight to Lien

i have a contact for private work. There is one contract with multiple sites, each site has a different property owner. Would i need to prelim each owner and property individually?

1 reply

Jul 3, 2019
That's a great question. When work is performed for separate owners at separate locations, a preliminary notice would likely need to be sent for each location in order to preserve the right to file a lien at each of the properties. This is due to the nature of mechanics lien claims - when a construction business provides work to a property that improves that property, generally, a mechanics lien right will arise. But, that lien right is tied directly to the property where work is performed. So, work on one property would not give rise to lien rights in another. And, since lien rights would arise separately for separate properties, preliminary notices should very likely be sent separately as well.

Beyond simply preserving lien rights - it's generally just good business to provide notice to the owner of the property where work is performed. That way, the owner is aware that you're providing work to the project and the project can start off on the right foot - in a collaborative direction. What's more, even if a business is solely interested in the preservation of lien rights, sending additional notice has little downside, and deciding not to send notice could be a gamble.

It's also worth noting, as briefly discussed above, that because a claimant would only be entitled to lien a property for work performed at that property, it's also probably important to designate the value of work being provided to that given property on a preliminary notice. California preliminary notices require that an estimate of the value or price of the work to be provided be included in a preliminary notice. So, when separate prelims are given for multiple owners with multiple properties, those prelims should likely each designate an estimate of the value of the work that will be provided to the property.

For a little more background on situations with multiple properties, as well as more background on California lien and notice rules, these resources should be valuable:
(1) Getting Paid on a Project with Multiple Properties
(2) About California Preliminary 20-Day Notices
(3) The Ultimate Guide to California’s 20-Day Preliminary Notice
(4) California Mechanics Lien Overview
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