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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>We are a material supplier, but also sell tools for use at projects for installation of our material/product (our material is affixed to the property). Can we file mechanics liens on the tooling when payment not made?

We are a material supplier, but also sell tools for use at projects for installation of our material/product (our material is affixed to the property). Can we file mechanics liens on the tooling when payment not made?

CaliforniaRight to Lien

We are a material supplier - we provide material for construction of solar tracker fields. While we don't do the installation of the trackers we do provide tooling for use in the installation of our product.

1 reply

Aug 2, 2019
That's a really good question. First, if equipment is rented - rental equipment needed for the completion of work is generally lienable. If equipment is sold, that may be a thornier question.

Generally, the sale of tools is not really a lienable event. This ties back to the purpose of mechanics liens - mechanics liens are available because certain work or materials have improved real property, and the right to lien that property results from the property being impoved by it. Tools, in and of themselves, don't improve property like labor, work, or materials do. While tools may seem synonymous with materials - materials are generally consumed or incorporated in the improvement. And, because those materials aren't usable on some other job, the right to payment for those materials results in a lien right against the property itself. But, where tools can be used on other jobs and brought to other projects, and where the transaction for the purchase of tools lies between two parties and isn't really reliant on the specific of project, those tools don't geneally give rise to mechanics lien rights.

At the same time, in the event that specific tools are needed to undertake work at the project property and can't be used elsewhere, and/or when those tools are consumed or the tools are incorporated into the property itself, then they may well be lienable. But, where tools can still be used on other jobs and are not consumed in the improvement of property, the sale of tools is generally not lienable.
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