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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>We forgot to file a Preliminary Lien Notice and now the customer is not paying for a job we did in California. Is there any remedy to file a lien or to collect our outstanding payment?

We forgot to file a Preliminary Lien Notice and now the customer is not paying for a job we did in California. Is there any remedy to file a lien or to collect our outstanding payment?

CaliforniaLawsuitLien DeadlinesMechanics LienPreliminary NoticeRecovery Options

We have a client who is upset because our subcontractor did some defective work. We offered to complete the work correctly and at no additional charge to the customer. The customer has refused to give us access to complete the work, yet is owing $22,400.00 for the overall contract.

1 reply

Jul 19, 2018
If you contracted directly with the property owner, California only requires a preliminary notice to be given if there was a construction lender. To the extent that there was a construction lender, or to the extent that the potential claimant contracted with someone other than the property owner, preliminary notice is mandatory.

While the preliminary notice must be given within 20 days of starting work in order to fully protect the claimant, a notice can be given at any time to protect the work done beginning 20 days prior to the date notice was given. If notice is required, and if all the work was performed more than 20 days prior to giving the preliminary notice, it is fatal to any potential lien claim.

That' not necessarily the end of the road, however. While a mechanics lien may not be the appropriate remedy, there are still options to recover via filing suit (breach of contract, unjust enrichment, etc.), collections processes, etc. Sometimes a simple demand letter can prompt payment.

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