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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>In California we received a Mechanics Lien for "Roofing Supply." However, our contract did not include roofing supply. As it turns out, the claimant actually supplied replacement windows. Is the lien valid?

In California we received a Mechanics Lien for "Roofing Supply." However, our contract did not include roofing supply. As it turns out, the claimant actually supplied replacement windows. Is the lien valid?

CaliforniaMechanics Lien

A subcontractor filed a Mechanics Lien claiming that it furnished "Roofing Supply" to our property. However, our contract with the General Contractor (who has filed bankruptcy) did not include roofing. Upon contacting the attorney for the subcontractor, he sent an invoice for replacement windows to support the lien. He claims that it makes no difference that the description of the materials furnished is completely wrong.

1 reply

Jun 12, 2018
That's a good question. Many rules surrounding mechanics liens can be quite strict and unforgiving - for instance, if notice requirements are not met, the right to lien is often put in jeopardy (at best). However, under the California mechanics lien statute, it looks like there is a little leniency built into the actual lien claim requirements. Specifically, § 8422 of the California Civil Code states that "erroneous information contained in a claim of lien relating to the claimant’s demand, credits and offsets deducted, the work provided, or the description of the site" unless the court determines that either: "(1) The claim of lien was made with intent to slander title or defraud. (2) An innocent third party, without notice, actual or constructive, became the bona fide owner of the property after recordation of the claim of lien, and the claim of lien was so deficient that it did not put the party on further inquiry in any manner." So, merely including an incorrect description of work provided would very likely not be considered enough to invalidate a mechanics lien. However, an exaggerated lien amount or an overstated scope of work could very well rise to the level of "intent to slander title or defraud" in some situations. Changing gears some, owners may have a few options when facing a mechanics lien due to an insolvent contractor. First, reaching out to the Contractors' Licensing Board could be helpful - many states have recovery funds available, and they'll be able to provide helpful information at the very least. Further, at least consulting (and potentially hiring) a local construction or real estate attorney will really be able to help clarify what options for moving forward may be available. Finally, while certainly not an ideal option, California is a state where mechanics lien claims may be bonded off - meaning, a property owner may post a surety bond that will take the place of a filed mechanics lien against their property. While it might not necessarily be a cheap endeavor, it's a good way to take the property title out of the equation - and it could buy a little time to resolve the dispute before a claimant feels the need to enforce their lien claim. Anyway, these posts may be helpful: A Mechanics Lien Was Filed on My Property – What Do I Do Now? and Primer on Mechanics Lien Bonds and Bonding Off A Mechanics Lien.
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