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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>I filed a lien on a property and they have check ready, but will not give it to me until I show proof that I released the lien. We need to get paid for this but I cannot risk them changing their minds or not giving me check once I release lien. What would be the best way to handle this? Would going to CSLB help in this situation? Thank you

I filed a lien on a property and they have check ready, but will not give it to me until I show proof that I released the lien. We need to get paid for this but I cannot risk them changing their minds or not giving me check once I release lien. What would be the best way to handle this? Would going to CSLB help in this situation? Thank you

CaliforniaMechanics LienPayment Disputes

Contractor is not going to pay me until I release check and I cannot risk them going back and not paying them

1 reply

Feb 12, 2019
Sorry to hear about your payment standoff. Unfortunately, this is a fairly common predicament. There is an eternal "catch-22" when it comes to the lien release process. On the one hand, owners/GCs don't want to pay unless they are sure the lien has been removed. On the flip side, contractors don't want to give up their only leverage until they have a check in hand. Don't forget, just because they have the money, doesn't mean that you've lost your bargaining power. Mechanics liens are pretty powerful also! So what to do? Typically, the safest way to proceed is to wait and release a lien until payment is in hand. Payments on the debt can be made at any time, but once a lien is released, it can't be "re-filed" if the lien deadline has passed. The most commonly used tactic in this situation is to fill out that release form. But instead of filing, offer it up in exchange for payment. Yes, there is still the extreme possibility that they will stop payment or cancel the check. In that situation, one solution might be to convince them to pay you with a certified or cashier's check. That way everyone wins! Keep in mind, that California has specific statutory requirements for removal or lien claim forms. To be sure that your removal is valid, you can download a free removal of a lien claim form from us. For more information visit our California Mechanics Lien FAQs
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