We supply both materials and labor sometimes via a contract with a general contractor, and sometimes with our own contract directly to a homeowner. Some management members believe that when we are supplying labor and materials directly to a homeowner a prelien is not required to retain our lien rights here in California. Can you please clarify is that is accurate? Also what about the notifying Lender requirements when employed via a general contractor versus a homeowner?

Answered 2 weeks ago

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Alex Benarroche

Legal Associate Levelset

Great question, as preliminary notices are a prerequisite to filing a mechanics lien in the state of California. The California 20-day preliminary notice is required on every construction project. Nearly every party is required to send one, but depending on the party's role on the project, the parties who need to receive the notice can change.

For those with a direct contract with the owner, Cal. Civ Code §8200(e)(2) states that any claimant with a direct contractual relationship is required to give preliminary notice only to the construction lender if any. This changed back in 2012, and we actually wrote a whole article on the new notice requirements for direct contractors. If there is not a lender on the project, then those with direct contracts with the property owner have no preliminary notice requirements.

On the other hand, suppliers that are working under a contract with a general contractor are required to send a preliminary notice to a few different parties; including the owner, the prime (general) contractor, and the construction lender (if there is one).

Hopefully, this cleared up things a bit. If you still have more questions feel free to post here again or you can also check out our Ultimate Guide to California 20-Day Preliminary Notices.

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