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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>How do you go about filing prelim notice in CA on removal of debris from powerlines when it spans miles and miles (Paradise, CA) do you have to have all the different property owners legal addresses?

How do you go about filing prelim notice in CA on removal of debris from powerlines when it spans miles and miles (Paradise, CA) do you have to have all the different property owners legal addresses?

CaliforniaPreliminary Notice

have a subcontractor working for a general in Paradise, CA removing debris from powerlines for the job owner PG&E. How do you do a prelim notice when the project location is miles and miles long - throughout the whole city of Paradise (cleanup on Campfire fire)?

1 reply

Feb 11, 2019
That's a really good question, and situations like the one described above can be extremely challenging. Before going further, though, it's worth mentioning that when sending preliminary notices, having the legal property description is not necessary. California notices require ownership information, including the address of the owner. However, having a legal description when sending a preliminary notice is unnecessary. Anyway - while the California mechanics lien statute does seem to provide some lien rights coverage to those performing utility work, the California mechanics lien statute and the state's public utility code are at odds. Under the utility code, it does not appear that a lien could attach to utility work without the consent of the Public Utilities Commission. So, when looking to preserve lien rights on utility projects, it's important to keep that in mind. Further, the lien statute does not show much flexibility in how a claimant might be able to satisfy the notice requirements for utility work. Particularly, it's unclear whether a mechanics lien should ultimately attach to each entire individual property or to the utility easement or some other interest in the property - like the poles and power lines themselves. Meaning, it's hard to identify exactly who must receive preliminary notices to preserve the right to lien that work. Regardless of what's being liened, notice must be sent to the prime contractor. While there might not really be a "prime contractor" on utility work, sending notice to the utility company who authorized work would certainly seem to be worthwhile. Ultimately, they'll likely be considered either the contractor or the owner of the work, both of which must receive notice. Plus, if not, sending additional notice to one party doesn't require a lot of time or money. Sending notice to each separate property along where utility work is performed would be quite the undertaking, but if done, obtaining the property addresses (along with each owner's information) would be necessary. For background information on lien and notice rules in California, this resource should be useful: California Lien & Notice FAQs. For more on the PG&E bankruptcy and how mechanics liens might be a solution (albeit an imperfect one), this resource should help: PG&E Bankruptcy
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