We're filing a mechanics lien in California. We're supposed to describe our work on the lien. How detailed does this need to be? Can we just write something general like "provided subcontracting work to the project?"
Jul 5, 2019
Ultimately, there's not a great rule of thumb for exactly how specific a description of labor must be, but a general point stands - the description of labor should be specific enough to identify what work was performed, but need not flesh out every single detail about what work was done. Levelset discusses that idea here: Description of Labor & Materials – How Much Detail is Needed?
For a little more clarity, let's look at California's mechanics lien statute. § 8416(a) of the California Civil Code stats that "A general statement of the kind of work furnished by the claimant." must be included in the lien claim. Now, this doesn't give an awful lot of detail as to what may or may not qualify as a "general statement", but it does at least indicate that the "kind of work furnished by the claimant" must be identified. So, something like "provided subcontracting work to the project" would likely not be descriptive enough to satisfy what kind of work was furnished since it merely indicates that some sort of work was performed and that the claimant wasn't hired by the owner. Something a little more descriptive - like the specific trade work performed - might be more appropriate.
But, when in doubt, it's typically better to be more detailed than not. After all, it'd be a shame to miss out on mechanics lien protection due to something as simple as being too brief with the description of labor - and insufficient description of labor is a common reason for lien rejections.
For a litle more background on California's mechanics lien requirements, these are some great resources:
(1) California Mechanics Lien Overview(2) How to File A California Mechanics Lien – Step By Step Guide