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Prelien- "What is my role?" . . . "Select hiring role?"

CaliforniaPreliminary NoticeRight to LienSlow Payment

I am trying to complete my first prelien for a reroof of a 4 plex that is on the property of a larger apartment complex (2oo+ units). The Property owner on Title is "Conference Claim End Board CA Ann Conf Meth". There are many managers that are in contact with me. I believe they work for "The Endowment Board" . . . This is who my previous checks are written from. They are located at 1341 W. Robinhood Drive, Suite A Stockton, California. The Prelien questionnaire on your site asks- "What is my role?" I selected General Contractor, but one of the Levelset Help agents had me second guessing if I was right or not. Also "Select hiring role?" I listed "other" for this category. I do not know if there is a lender. . . I don't think so. My questions are. . . What do a Label as my role and what do I select under hiring role? Any help would be much appreciated. They took 4 months to pay a larger sum last time and it was pretty financial painful. Trying to protect myself. Thanks, Dan

1 reply

Jun 17, 2019
Hey Dan! I'm sorry to hear you've had trouble before with this customer. No one should have to scratch and claw just to be paid what they've earned, and as you probably already know, sending preliminary notices (also known as "pre-liens") can go a long way toward avoiding payment disputes. While I'm not able to give advice or decide which role is most appropriate for your situation - I can provide some context and info on Levelset and California law that should make that determination a lot easier.

First, let's talk about what's required in California. That way, regardless of how the Levelset platform operates, you'll know what needs to be done in order to best protect yourself.

In California, every party who is hired by someone other than the property owner must send a preliminary notice in order to preserve the right to later file a mechanics lien. The notice must be sent to the owner, the projects "prime contractor" (or, project manager, or construction manager - really, any construction business who contracted on behalf of the owner), and the construction lender if one is present on the job. Additionally, parties who are hired directly by the property owner must send a preliminary notice to the lender on the project if there's a lender present. If it's unclear whether there's a construction lender on the project, that information can typically be found in the building permit, a Construction Trust Deed (if one is present). Further, this information must be provided by a prime contractor if it's requested.

With the above in mind, it's also worth noting that it's a good idea to send preliminary notices even when they aren't required. There's no harm in playing it safe by sending notice, and when notices are used, jobs tend to be more collaborative, communicative, and owners (and lenders) tend to feel more comfortable releasing payments.

In any event, it's important to remember: sending notice, even when notice that might not be required, will be a safer and more effective option than sending no notice at all.

As for how the Levelset platform itself works...

Generally, the Levelset platform identifies a "general contractor" as the party who was hired directly by the property owner or their agent - so, GC's generally equate to a "prime contractor" for the purposes of using the Levelset platform. When hired by some other construction business on a job, the designation of subcontractor, sub-subcontractor, material supplier, equipment lessor, or laborer may be more appropriate. As for selecting a hiring role, whatever role most accurately describes the party who hired you on the job should be selected. Generally, it's a good idea to be more specific than using "Other", but every job is different - and sometimes, selecting "other" may be appropriate!

I hope this information has been helpful. For more clarity, please feel free to reach out to the Levelset Help Expert team, or feel free to come back to the Ask an Expert center!

Also - here are some additional resources regarding California preliminary notices that should be helpful:
(1) About California Preliminary 20-Day Notices
(2) The Ultimate Guide to California’s 20-Day Preliminary Notice
(3) California Lien and Notice Overview, FAQs, and Resources.
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