I haven’t get paid yet for a project Call Avalon Eaves in Huntington Beach is a remodel of main offices of apartment complex.They paid suppliers only but they haven’t paid anything for us yet for the month of April .the project has been completed since May. What can I do or what’s the next step on this case ?

5 months ago

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Senior Legal Associate Levelset

I’m sorry to hear you’ve gone unpaid on this job – everyone should be paid what they’ve earned. First, I should mention that I’m not able to provide advice on how best to proceed – but I can provide some relevant information that should be helpful for deciding how to move forward. With that in mind, let’s look at some potential recovery options when unpaid on a California construction project.

Notice of Intent to Lien
Mechanics liens are probably the most powerful recovery tool construction businesses can use to recover payment, and they’re commonly utilized and leveraged in order to achieve payment. We’ll talk about them more in a second, but merely threatening to use a mechanics lien can often lead to payment. By sending a document like a Notice of Intent to Lien, a construction business can show their customer that they’re serious about payment, and that they aren’t afraid to do what it takes to get paid. Because a lien is such a powerful tool, owners will often be more amenable to talking payment if they know a lien is on the table. And, a threat of lien can be made regardless of whether a lien can or will be filed. You can learn more about payment recovery through a lien warning here: What is a Notice of Intent to Lien?

Filing a Mechanics Lien
As briefly discussed above, mechanics liens are a strong payment recovery tool. In fact, mechanics liens were specifically designed to make sure that construction businesses are paid for the work they perform. When a mechanics lien is filed, the title to the project property comes under fire. A mechanics lien clouds the owner’s title to the property, and as a result, most owners will want to do whatever it takes to get the lien removed from the property title. And, when a valid mechanics lien is filed but not dealt with, the owner could even lose their property. This all results in a situation where the owner has no choice but to take the payment claim seriously, and typically lien claims are resolved pretty quickly and without the need for legal action. As mentioned above, the mere threat of a lien filing is often enough to get paid. You can learn more about how mechanics liens work and more about California’s lien requirements at the following resources: (1) How Do Mechanics Liens Work? 17 Ways a Lien Gets You Paid; and (2) California Mechanics Lien Overview.

Other Options
Leveraging or filing a mechanics lien will typically be very strong options for payment recovery, but there are certainly other ways to go about recovery. For one, threatening to file a lawsuit could get things moving – and a payment demand letter that also threatens specific legal actions (like, potentially, breach of contract or a claim under California’s prompt payment laws) can be particularly effective, especially when sent by an attorney. Plus, like with a Notice of Intent to Lien – if threats or warnings don’t get the job done, pursuing some legal claim might work. Additionally, for smaller disputes, filing suit in California Small Claims Court might be an option. Small claims court is designed to be faster and cheaper than traditional litigation, and it can help a claimant avoid delays or extensive legal fees. And finally, if set out under the contract (or if an owner otherwise agrees to participate), alternative dispute resolution methods can help resolve matters without the need for going to court.

I hope this information was helpful! Feel free to ask any other questions you may have.

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