My contractor has filed a lien even though we've paid him $20,000 more in advance for work that has not yet been completed. He keeps trying to modify the progress payment deliverables in order to get more money. He has not produced an accounting of how the money I paid in advance was spent. I do know he has not paid the subcontractor entirely what he is due, and we know that the subcontractor estimate for the work is less than what we have already paid to the general contractor in advance. It seems like all processes I've been able to web search on support the contractor and nothing to help the property owner get these liens invalidated without costly legal process.
If your contractor was charing you in advance for work not yet performed and/or materials not yet delivered, and did not pay subcontractors, then you can file a complaint with the CSLB . Those are violatons of Statutes Business and Professions Code 7159 & 7108.5. If the mechanics lien was fraudulently filed, then the cslb may encourage the contractor to release the lien. They may not, but worth a try if you are attempting to avoid litigation costs. You will have to provide the CSLB with documentary proof. For example in part: copy of the signed contract, preliminary notices from subcontractors, invoices, proof of payment, releases, building permit or current copy of the job card. You may also file a claim against the contractors surety bond company. The contractor's surety bond information is availble via a license check of the contractor at CSLB.CA.GOV