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How will updates to the address effect moving forward with a prelien or lien?

CaliforniaPreliminary Notice

I have a project that doesn't have a full address or APN, only cross streets. The address will be updated as this information becomes available, however, we would like to send the preliminary notice within the 20 day window. Adding address info has also put a damper on Zlien's ability to confirm the owner. If we have already sent the preliminary notice and now need to move forward on a prelien or lien for this property, Could updates to the owner and/or Address cause an issue?

1 reply

Jan 25, 2019
That's a good question. First, let's talk about preliminary notice. Obviously, it can be hard to send notice without being able to track down the contact information of the property owner. However, there are two aspects of the California Civil Code that might alleviate this burden. First, if the owner is present on the job site, delivering preliminary notice via personal service is perfectly acceptable under § 8106(a) of the California Civil Code. However, it could be hard to prove that the notice was made if a dispute later arises. Perhaps more helpfully, under § 8208 of the California Civil Code, "A direct contractor shall make available to any person seeking to give preliminary notice the following information: (a) The name and address of the owner. (b) The name and address of the construction lender, if any." So, when a subcontractor, supplier, etc. requests the name and address of the owner, the general contractor is obliged to make that information available so that notice can be sent. Regarding updates to the owner/address and previously sent preliminary notice - the California Civil Code requires that the owner and contractor both be provided with preliminary notice, and (under § 8102(a)) that notice should contain certain information, including the name and address of the owner or reputed owner. The inclusion of "reputed owner" would indicate that, as long as the party sending notice reasonably believes ownership information is correct, the requirement would be fulfilled. So on that front - including the incorrect ownership information on a preliminary notice would not seem to negatively affect lien rights. However, the owner must receive preliminary notice in order for lien rights to be preserved - and that's a firm requirement. So, if the owner never receives preliminary notice, the right to later file a lien could certainly be affected. Considering that the general contractor must provide the owner's name and address upon request, though, the correct information can often be obtained. For other background info on California lien and notice rights, the following resource should be helpful: California Lien & Notice FAQs.
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