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Remedy for progress billing?

CaliforniaMechanics LienPayment DisputesRecovery Options

We have a project that we will be billing 2 times on. One is a progress billing (already billed on 12/22/17), and one is a final billing (to be billed once completed). For the progress billing that we sent on 12/22/17, the GC only paid 20% of what we billed. We billed $23,790, as we completed 67% of our project, and a change order. The GC required us to provide releases from our suppliers as well. They sent us a payment in the amount of $5,238, when we billed $23,790. Of the $5,238, they paid our supplier in full (approx $2,100), and we received the difference of approximately ~$3,100, for a job we are 67% completed with AND a completed change order. We are approaching 90 days on 3/22/18, since we first billed, and have not received any further payments. Since we are not completed with the job, (we still have 1/3 to complete/nor do they know when they will be ready for us to get in to do the remaining work), do we have any remedy to be paid on our progress billing? Thanks!

1 reply

Mar 23, 2018
This is a tough situation. One option would be to threaten to cease work - or to actually cease work on the project. Obviously, there's a chance that a contractor would make payment in the face of a potential work stoppage. If the GC doesn't make payment, a mechanics lien may be an available option - in California, a mechanics lien can be filed after a claimant ceases to provide work, but before (1) 90 days after the completion of the work, or (2) 30 days after the owner records a notice of completion or cessation (whichever is earlier). Of course, in order to file a mechanics lien, all California lien requirements would have to be adhered to (preliminary notice requirements). Before it comes to that, though, note that a Notice of Intent to Lien can be enough to convince a GC to make payment without actually having to file a lien claim. Regardless of whether a claimant intends to file or even has the right to file a mechanics lien, sending a Notice of Intent to Lien to a property owner and a general contractor may be enough to encourage the GC to make good on payment obligations. Finally, a California Stop Payment Notice or a demand letter sent through an attorney could also be effective in speeding up payment. Ultimately, there will be a number of potential options to attempt recovering payment - and consulting a local attorney would help clear up the available options. Plus, they'll be able to provide legal advice on which route to pursue.
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