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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>I don't have a contractor license told family I'm not doing the work for free I spent 4500 hours working on the house it is in escroe to close on the 31 of this month I need to file my Lein for $125,000

I don't have a contractor license told family I'm not doing the work for free I spent 4500 hours working on the house it is in escroe to close on the 31 of this month I need to file my Lein for $125,000

CaliforniaMechanics LienPayment DisputesRight to Lien

Why can't I file my Lein as a family laborer or beneficiary I do far better work than a contractor could ever!!

1 reply

Aug 21, 2018
I'm sorry to hear that you haven't been paid. Not getting paid what you have earned is frustrating and unfair, especially when it is a large amount. And when you do good work it's even more insulting to not get paid for the value you have provided. It's unfortunate, but the information regarding unlicensed parties in California is generally not good.

California is exceptionally strict regarding licensing requirements and the ability of unpaid construction participants to recover money owed. If a license is required for the work performed, an unlicensed contractor NOT ONLY cannot file a valid mechanics lien, but s/he also cannot file suit in court to recover, either. California has made the determination that unlicensed contractors are not entitled to be paid – period – for anything, and will be thrown out of court if they sue to get paid.

Additionally, California holds that contracting without a license is a misdemeanor crime. And a party doing so can be fined.

While there is an exception to the licensing requirement for ""handymen" that work is limited to $500 total for a job. This pay includes both labor and cost of materials, and is not increased if more than one task is undertaken at the same time.

As to "Why" it is that way in California, there is likely no answer that will seem sufficient. The short story is that there are always trade-offs to be made, and that holds true for drafting laws and setting public policy. California looked at potential trade-offs and determined that it was more important to protect the state's property owners by requiring licenses for certain work than it was to ensure that certain unlicensed workers got paid. In many respects this does not seem fair.

It is imperative for parties doing more than $500 of construction work in California that they get licensed.
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