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How do we remove an unjust mechanic lien on our property filed in 2003

CaliforniaLien ForeclosureLien Releases

I just left the county recorders office and found a mechanic lien on our property filed by a contractor who i had to go to the State Board on. I do not recall ever receiving notice of this lien. We paid the contract for the work completed but not for the work not completed.

1 reply

Jun 20, 2019
Dealing with liens that one feels are improper can be a headache. And, it can be even more frustrating when the lien comes as a surprise. There are, however, procedures set out by California law for the removal of such liens.

The first step is making the determination that the lien must be actually removed. In California, like every state, liens have a limited lifespan, and must be enforced within a certain amount of time. It this time period passes, the lien becomes unenforceable and ineffective, and no longer actually encumbers the property. In California, an action to enforce a lien must be initiated within 90 days of the lien being recorded, or it will expire. And, if it does expire, California law specifically holds that "the claim of lien does not constitute actual or constructive notice of any of the matters contained, claimed, alleged, or contended in the claim of lien, or create a duty of inquiry in any person thereafter dealing with the affected property."

If an actual removal of the lien is desired however, notwithstanding the above, and even though a lien older than 90 days is ineffective if an action to enforce was not started, it can be done. California § 8480(a) provides that "[t]he owner of property or the owner of any interest in property subject to a claim of lien may petition the court for an order to release the property from the claim of lien if the claimant has not commenced an action to enforce the lien" within the 90-day period after the lien's filing. The specific procedures required are also set forth by statute

Since the procedure requires filing a petition with the court, some property owners may feel more comfortable enlisting the assistance of counsel to take care of this, but it is not a specific requirement to do so (unless the property owner is a corporation, LLC, or other entity unable to represent itself).
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