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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>If the owner has hired an Owner's Representative, is it acceptable to send preliminary 20-day notices for both Owner and Owner's Rep to the Owner Rep's office? The client does not want to provide their current home address.

If the owner has hired an Owner's Representative, is it acceptable to send preliminary 20-day notices for both Owner and Owner's Rep to the Owner Rep's office? The client does not want to provide their current home address.

CaliforniaPreliminary Notice

We are building a new home for a high profile client who has asked to keep their home address off any records. Is it acceptable to use the hired Owner's Rep as the address for the Owner for all Lien notices intended for the Owner?

1 reply

Oct 8, 2018
I'll fight off the urge to ask who it is! But in all seriousness - the California Civil Code provides a little flexibility here on how service may be performed. While service must still be given to the owner, there are a few ways in which this may be completed. First - a claimant can complete service by personal delivery (i.e. literally delivering by hand). However, if this route were taken, it'd be imperative to obtain proof that the service was completed - most typically by signature of the owner. Next, a party sending notice may send notice to the owner by sending notice to the owner's address listed on the direct contract, the building permit, or a construction trust deed. Finally, in what may be the trickiest option, a party sending preliminary notice may do so in the manner provided by Section 415.20 of the Code of Civil Procedure. This route would require (1) leaving a copy at the owner's office during usual office hours, or using their usual mailing address (but not a PO box); and(2) mailing a copy of the notice (by first class mail) to the same location. If that's not possible, notice may be served by leaving a copy of the notice at the owner's house, usual place of abode, usual place of business, or usual mailing address (other than a PO box) int the presence of a competent member of the household or a person who is apparently in charge of the office, place of business, or usual mailing address. Here, too - a copy would need to be sent to the same place by first class mail afterwards. However, under 415.20(c), if the only address reasonably known for the owner is a private mailbox via a commercial mail receiving agency, service may be sent by leaving a copy with the mail receiving agency. Finally, while it's not a good idea to stray far from statutory requirements, § 8102(b) states that "Notice is not invalid by reason of any variance from the requirements of this section if the notice is sufficient to substantially inform the person given notice of the information required by this section and other information required in the notice." Thus, if the owner is actually put on notice, notice may still be effective if sent by some manner not contemplated by statute. But again - it's typically unwise to rely on such an exception.
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