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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>Original contract was not preliened and paid in full requiring no mechanic's lien enforcement action however we later returned under change order that has gone unpaid and filed mechanic's lien (California); owner is now claiming it is non-enforceable, is this accurate?

Original contract was not preliened and paid in full requiring no mechanic's lien enforcement action however we later returned under change order that has gone unpaid and filed mechanic's lien (California); owner is now claiming it is non-enforceable, is this accurate?

CaliforniaLien DeadlinesMechanics LienRight to Lien

Original contract was not preliened and contract was paid in full requiring no mechanic's lien enforcement action however; we later returned under change order that has gone unpaid and in turn filed a mechanic's lien (California). The owner is now claiming it is non-enforceable, is this accurate?

1 reply

Aug 10, 2018
In California, a preliminary notice is required prior to claiming a valid and enforceable mechanics lien for all parties without a contract with the property owner, and for direct contractors when there is a construction lender providing funds for the project. In the situation in which a potential lien claimant has a direct contract with the property owner, and no construction lender was on the project, no preliminary notice is needed prior to filing a mechanics lien.

Another potential issue is the deadline by which a mechanics lien must be filed. In CA, liens must be filed within 90 days of the completion of the project as a whole. That deadline can be shortened to 60 days (for direct contractors) and 30 days (for everybody else) if the owner files a notice of completion or cessation. Whether going back to a project extends the time in which a lien may be filed depends on many factors. The general rule is that punch-list or remedial work does not extend the lien deadline, but substantial work, and work pursuant to a valid change order, does count for deadline calculation purposes.
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