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How long does a labor have to file a lein?

California

The general contractor hired me to work hourly, paychecks kept coming later and later finialy after oweing me 2000 he said he's waiting for money and cant pay. I last worked feb 11 and he wont answer my calls. He acknowledged in a text he owes me and said hes not trying to screw me but he is, how long do I have to file a lein?? Is it too late? Can I go after the home owners property?? The general contractor hired me he also owes 2 other people.

1 reply

Mar 6, 2019
First and foremost, the State of California requires that most participants on a construction project file a Preliminary Notice. However, laborers fall under the exception to this rule. (although we still recommend sending one even if not required) In any case, the deadline to file a Claim of Lien (for those who don't directly contract with the property owner) is after the claimant ceases to provide work is 90 days after completion of the work. Or, if the owner records a Notice of Completion, the deadline becomes 30 days after the owner recorded the notice. Keep in mind, that potential lien claimants should always consider sending a Notice of Intent to Lien (NOI) before resorting to filing an actual lien claim. Although not required in CA, an NOI is an incredibly useful warning letter to get a payment dispute the attention it needs. Many times, payment disputes can be resolved after sending an NOI, without having to file a lien claim. For more resources check out the California Lien Law FAQs page.
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