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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>hello. I am interested in using your services and placing a lien on clients home. we started work in April and haven't been paid. the project has not yet been completed as we were waiting for the first schedule payment according to the contract and the customer did not hve the money to pay. can we file the lien even though the entire work has not been compelted?

hello. I am interested in using your services and placing a lien on clients home. we started work in April and haven't been paid. the project has not yet been completed as we were waiting for the first schedule payment according to the contract and the customer did not hve the money to pay. can we file the lien even though the entire work has not been compelted?

California

we started work in April and haven't been paid. the project has not yet been completed as we were waiting for the first schedule payment according to the contract and the customer did not have the money to pay. can we file the lien even though the entire work has not been completed?

1 reply

Jul 12, 2018
I'm sorry to hear you went unpaid! That's a great question. First, the time when a lien may be filed will depend on a party's role on the job. In California, a prime contractor must record their lien after completion of the direct contract, and before the earlier of either 90 days after completion of the work of improvement; or 60 days after the owner records a Notice of Completion or Cessation. Determining what constitutes as "completion" can be tricky here, but if work has been continuously provided on the job and if no Notice of Completion or Cessation has been filed, chances are a project will not be considered "complete". A claimant other than a direct contractor must record his mechanics lien after the claimant ceases to provide work, and before the earlier of either: 90 days after completion of the work of improvement; or, 30 days after the owner records a Notice of Completion or Cessation. However, there are other options for recovery prior to completing work. Specifically, a document like a Notice of Intent to Lien can compel payment without actually having to file a mechanics lien. It acts like a warning shot - if payment isn't made, a lien will be filed. Further, there are other options to recover payment as well - such as a prompt payment claim. Prompt payment laws determine what timelines for payment are acceptable and appropriate, and when they aren't followed, penalties may be incurred by the nonpaying party. More on those California prompt payment laws here: Prompt Payment Law FAQs. All of the aforementioned options are viable methods to recover payment, and a Notice of Intent to Lien or a mechanics lien may be ordered through the zlien Document Navigator - or via other methods, such as sending/filing personally, through an attorney, or through some other document filing service.
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