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General Contractor holding payments

CaliforniaConstruction ContractMechanics LienRetainage

Im a subcontractor. We have been on a job since April. The last progress payment we recieved was in November. The job is 99% complete. We have a few minor items to touch up, We are waiting on the materials to come in from Mexico. The owner & GC are aware. The GC has been holding payments back from completed work & completed change orders. He also decides what he wants to pay and when and how much. He pays accordingly to how he is feeling and what he thinks is fair, not what we agreed upon. Im afraid he is going to stiff us with the final payment and all the open change order invoices. What should be being doing to prepare for this?

1 reply

Feb 24, 2023

To prepare... make sure you keep good records (preliminary notice, invoices, emails, texts, photographs, job card if you can get a copy or if available online). Assuming you sent out a preliminary notice then you can send out a "stop notice." If the project has been completed, or terminated, you can file the Mechanics Lien no later than within 90 days, assuming not a public works project. You can't get attorneys fees on the ML, but you may be able to if you file a claim against the GC, per Business and Professions Code section 7108.5. 

Be careful with what you write to the GC regarding B&P 7108.5, as that statute allows for disciplinary proceedings against the GC. Making threats of disciplinary action could be deemed extortion, so you may be better off not mentioning the statute, and/or having an attorney communicate for you. 

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