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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>i filed a prelim notice to the owner of the property where we worked, but failed to file with the original contractor. Does that negate my lien rights in a foreclosure law suit

i filed a prelim notice to the owner of the property where we worked, but failed to file with the original contractor. Does that negate my lien rights in a foreclosure law suit

CaliforniaMechanics LienNotice of Intent to LienRecovery Options

i have communicated with the owner about receiving payment, but he refuses to pay what is owed and wants to settle for less, thus i filed a prelim notice after the job was completed and did not (until 45 days later) file a notice with the contractor (owners brother in law). Does that preclude me from lien rights?

1 reply

Jul 26, 2018
I'm sorry to hear about that. To clarify, let's break down California's lien and notice requirements. In California, those who do not have a direct contract with the owner must provide preliminary notice. This notice must be sent within 20 days of the start of work to both the owner and the general contractor (and the lender, if one is present). If this notice is not sent within 20 days of the start of work - some protection is still available! Preliminary notice sent late is effective to protect the previous 20 days of work as well as the remainder of work on the job. So, if notice was sent to one required party on time and to one party a little late, it's likely safe to assume that notice wouldn't be considered made until the later notice was provided. Of course, if there was work performed during the 20 day period prior to sending notice (or if any work was completed after the notice), that specific work would likely be lienable based on the late notice. Regardless of whether a lien filing will ultimately be available, though, it's worth noting that sending a Notice of Intent to Lien can be effective to compel payment without actually having to file a lien. It serves as a warning shot - the document states that if payment is not made, a lien claim will be filed. Because the mechanics lien remedy is such a dramatic one, an owner or contractor will likely not be willing to call a claimant's bluff.
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