Is a Mechanics Lien valid or disputable if the amount of the Lien is greater than amount we owe the vendor?

1 month ago

We have our window supplier place a lien on the property due to non-payment, We didn’t receive a pre-lien. The mechanic’s lien that was placed was for a value of $109,810.23, we actually only owe this vendor $77,339.69. Is this lien disputable? or a way to contest it so that it may be removed?

Chief Legal Officer Levelset
134 reviews

In California, generally all parties must provide a preliminary notice in order to retain the right to file an enforceable mechanics lien. For parties who contract directly with the property owner, the preliminary notice is only required to be provided to the construction lender, if any.

In California, a mechanics lien amount is limited to the reasonable value of the work provided by the claimant, or the price agreed to by the claimant and the person who contracted for the work (less payments already received), whichever is less.

Liens can be challenged for any number of reasons – and there are a lot of nuances that must be complied with in order for a lien to be valid and enforceable. California allows a property owner to petition the court to release the property from a claim of lien, and in the event that the lien is improper there may be a cause of action for slander of title through which damages may be recoverable.

Managing Partner Gibbs Giden LLP
48 reviews

Good morning! You wouldn’t have necessarily received the preliminary notice (I am assuming you are a glazing or related subcontractor) as the notice typically goes to the property owner, direct contactor, and lender (if any). Yes, if the lien is overstated, you should send a written notice (or have an attorney do it for you to grab their attenton) to clarify the overstatement and warn of the subsequent actions you may take if necessary to resolve the overstated mechanics lien claim.

Disclaimer: NOTE: The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended nor should be construed as legal advice for any particular case or client. The content contained herein is published online for informational purposes only, may not reflect the most current legal developments, verdicts or settlements, and does not constitute legal advice. Do not act on the information contained herein without seeking the advice of licensed counsel. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship and is neither intended to constitute an advertisement nor a solicitation.
Attorney Carlton & Alberola
22 reviews

An intentionally overstated lien may be rendered moot. That said, if you owe 77K to the vendor, why not pay that and fight over the difference?

Disclaimer: Carlton & Alberola and/or Andrew Carlton have not been retained by the recipient of the above comment and, moreover, the above comment does not create an attorney-client relationship. The above is general commentary based on limited and insufficient information. If you wish to obtain legal advice, please contact Andrew Carlton at 949-954-6666 x101, or by email at andrew@cnalawfirm.com.
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