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Does a Land Survey company need to file a Pre lien if they are contracted with General contractor?

CaliforniaMechanics LienPreliminary Notice

Non payment. Entered in contract with GC did not file Pre lien. Now want to at least get there attention with a mechanics lien. Can it be done even though no Pre lien was filed. Seem to read conflicting information about whether or not a Land Surveyor is required to file pre lien. Since only labor is being provided.

1 reply

May 18, 2018
That's a good question. In California, all claimants who do not have a direct contract with the property owner must provide preliminary notice to (1) the property owner, (2) the direct contractor, and (3) the construction lender, if one is present. However, under § 8200(e)(1), "A laborer is not required to give preliminary notice." The California Civil Code defines a laborer as "a person who, acting as an employee, performs labor upon, or bestows skill or other necessary services on, a work of improvement." Further, § 8014 of the California Civil Code, which defines the term "Design professional," includes surveyors. Because surveyors are included in the definition of a "Design professional," and because design professionals and laborers are both distinctly defined as separate under the California Civil Code, it might be a stretch to argue that a surveyor qualifies as a laborer under the state's lien laws and therefore does not need to send preliminary notice. Of course, there may be some room for argument there. In cases where a requirement might not be necessarily black and white, a lien claimant can typically actually get their lien filed against the property. Of course, whether that lien would be enforceable and whether it would withstand a challenge against the lien could be up in the air. But, as long as a lien claim is filed in good faith and accurately represents a debt owed, a claimant can typically file their lien and then release it if issues arise - penalties for lien filings typically only come into play when a lien is filed in bad faith or intentionally exaggerated. Finally, prior to filing a mechanics lien, a Notice of Intent to Lien often helps to enforce payment. A Notice of Intent serves as a warning shot - if payment isn't made, a lien will be filed. Because a mechanics lien is such a powerful remedy, the mere threat of a lien is often enough to spur payment (more on that idea here: Notice Of Intent To Lien May Be Enough To Get You Paid). If a Notice of Intent to Lien isn't enough to speed up payment, and if a lien claim doesn't appear to be a viable or enticing option, there are always other methods for recovery available, as we discuss here: What If I Don’t Want to File a Mechanics Lien? Here Are 5 Other Options.
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