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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>We did file a Prelim Lien Notice but the date has passed for us to proceed with the lien process. Are there other actions we can take to get paid our retention?

We did file a Prelim Lien Notice but the date has passed for us to proceed with the lien process. Are there other actions we can take to get paid our retention?

CaliforniaLawsuitMechanics LienPayment DisputesRecovery Options

The job paid really well until retention. The GC kept telling me they hadn't gotten paid yet, a few more weeks...weeks went by. Then the GC told me there were other subs having issues and one filed a stop notice against the other. The owner wants to pay but says because of the Stop Notice and the amount of money they are claiming exceeds the amount they have they won't pay anyone. Why can't they pay the subs who are not having issues and not pay the ones who are? Do we have any recourse since we have gone beyond the time limit for pursuing the lien?

1 reply

Nov 10, 2017
If the deadline for filing a lien has passed, which in California is within 90 days from completion of the entire project, (or within 60 days from filing of notice of completion or cessation if one is filed), other options will need to be pursued.

Generally, unless the contract demands arbitration or mediation, the path toward recovery in the absence of a mechanics lien is through litigation. This can be for breach of contract, or any other applicable;e cause of action. It's worth noting that California mandates that all amount of withheld retainage must be released by 45 days from the “date of completion.” And, if a direct contractor has withheld a retention from one or more subcontractors, the contractor must pay subcontractor’s shares of the payment within 10 days of receiving all or part of a retention payment.

Additionally, California has "prompt pay" requirements: Property owners must pay prime contractors within 30 days of receiving an invoice (absent certain allowable disputes), and prime contractors must pay subcontractors within 7 days of receiving payment from above (unless otherwise agreed). Final payment must be made within 45 days of completion of project. If these deadlines are not met, interest is added at 2% per month, and attorneys' fees can be recovered by a successful party forced to being suit to get paid.
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