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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>Hi I already wrote to you about liening a partially completed unit when the bldr defaults. I did not however add that the builder put in writing that he would not allow access to my firm to complete the work which we offered to do after they paid for the amounts owed, which are now delinquent. Pls add this to the prior email in advising how to properly lien the portion of the work which bldr, made impossible to complete by not paying for the labor, materials or past due retentions.

Hi I already wrote to you about liening a partially completed unit when the bldr defaults. I did not however add that the builder put in writing that he would not allow access to my firm to complete the work which we offered to do after they paid for the amounts owed, which are now delinquent. Pls add this to the prior email in advising how to properly lien the portion of the work which bldr, made impossible to complete by not paying for the labor, materials or past due retentions.

CaliforniaMechanics LienRight to Lien

Again, pls add to the prior email I had just set as additional circumstances to be factored in to my firm correctly getting the amount of the lien correct. thanks,Marshall

1 reply

Jul 11, 2019
Hi Marshall! I think I just finished answering the question you're referring to, and you can find that here.

I think my previous answer will be sufficient to cover both that question and the new circumstances, but I'll reiterate one of the main points here.

Mechanics liens attach to project property to protect the ability to be paid for work performed. But, for work that's not been performed, even when the work couldn't be performed by the claimant because their customer wouldn't let them, amounts that would have been due for that work are generally not lienable.

California makes this clear at § 8430(a) of the California Civil Code. Under that section, a mechanics lien claim is limited to the lesser of the following two amounts: "(1) The reasonable value of the work provided by the claimant. (2) The price agreed to by the claimant and the person that contracted for the work." So, if the contract price for the work exceeds the value of the work that was actually done, only the value of the work performed will be lienable.

Note, though, that this doesn't mean the contract price isn't recoverable. Threatening (or actually pursuing) legal actions such as breach of contract could certainly lead to being paid what's owed under the contract, and a claimant can definitely negotiate payment for more than the value of work that's been done.

Hope this has been helpful!
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