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How to collect payment for work that is completed

CaliforniaConstruction ContractLien WaiversMechanics Lien

Good morning I am hoping you can answer some questions for us regarding an issue we are having with being paid for a completed roofing project. This our first encounter with this type of situation. We filed a mechanics lien with Humboldt County, it was recorded and returned w/o any indication that it was rejected or not valid, we are unsure what to do next since half the information I am finding states that the Lien would not be valid w/o preliminary notice being filed and delivered to customer/property owner within 20 days of starting a project, we were unaware of this. My husband has been in the roofing business for over 20 years and has never known of any preliminary notice having to be filed for each project. We have also spoken with others who have had contacting projects done through various contractors and have never received a preliminary notice. We do include in the estimate a "Notice to Owner that informs customers of the mechanics lien if n the event that payment is not received and/or being disputed. Is this "Notice to Owner" document enough. And if not what do we do now? How do we collect payment for work that is completed and owner is refusing to pay due to charges for additional work that he authorize and disputing amended warranty for specific areas where owner refused to authorize work to be done. Thank you in advance.

3 replies

Jun 18, 2021

Whether you need a prelim depends on your role in the project (are you a prime contractor or subcontractor) and whether there are lenders involved. Even if you do not have a valid lien right, you can always send a demand letter followed up by a breach of contract claim. I would talk to an experienced construction attorney to see what rights you have and what your options are. Every situation is different and will need its own unique solution.

Jun 18, 2021
We are the main / only contractor for this project. I’m having trouble finding an attorney in our rural area that practices this
Jun 21, 2021

You can shoot me and email or give me call, maybe I can point you in the right direction. I don’t know where you are at, but with courts mostly online for now I’ve been handling some cases that are quite far away. Plus, Courts have been much more open to court call rather than paying attorneys to go in all the time. You might start with a demand letter which I could help you out with.


Sean Dowsing, Esq., DBIA

Manning & Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester

19800 MacArthur Blvd # 900

Irvine, CA 92612



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