A lien was filed on my property beyond the 90 days past cessation of the work. Do I need to wait the full 90 days to see whether they will file a foreclosure lawsuit or what do I need to do now?
May 7, 2018
That's a good question. First, I'll note that when a lien has been filed it might be time to consult a local construction or real estate attorney - doing so earlier in the process might help prevent the dispute spiraling into a much bigger issue. Anyway, if a lien has been improperly filed, a demand to release the lien can be sent to the claimant who filed the lien. Such a demand could identify the flaws with a given lien (such as a missed filing deadline) and state that if the improper lien is not removed, legal action will be taken against the claimant. If a party challenging a lien believes that the lien may constitute slander of title or a fraudulent lien, mentioning that to the lien claimant would likely be worthwhile. If 90 days passes after the filing and no enforcement suit is filed, there will be more options for combatting a lien. Specifically, after the deadline to enforce has passed, an owner (or other interested party) can petition the court for the release of the lien claim under § 8480(a) of the California lien statute. Prior to filing such a petition, though, the lien claimant must be given 10 days notice. After the petition is filed, a hearing will take place to determine the validity of the lien. While that may sound like a headache, the prevailing party in such a hearing is entitled to attorney fees from the losing party, and a successful petition to remove the lien will result in a removal of the claim from the record.