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Is the failure to identify the type of labor or materials in a preliminary notice render it insufficient?

CaliforniaMechanics LienPreliminary Notice

A lien has been recorded against owner's property by a subcontractor with no contract with the owner. Subcontractor provided a preliminary notice but failed to list the type of labor or materials he was providing in the section of the preliminary notice that asks for this information. In fact, it was blank. Does the owner have a defense to this lien claim?

2 replies

Jan 22, 2021

It would be up to the Court to determine whether or not the preliminary notice was valid in these circumstances. However, I think that a Court could find that an owner had enough information to make a reasonable inquiry if the preliminary notice at least listed the contractor’s name and address to the owner could call them and ask questions. It could also be obvious if the contractor’s name gave an indication as to the type of work they do (i.e. Joe’s Plumbing, Best Electrical, etc.)

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Jan 25, 2021

As always, Ms. Curl is spot on in her analysis. It is an interesting issue that could be argued either way as there is some case law support to strictly construe the technical requirements of the preliminary notice (e.g., bold face type of the warning language, an estimated amount, etc.) and there is some case law that liberally construes some of these procedural requirements in favor of claimants. Good luck!

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