We have a Mechanics Lien in place and want to give them a partial release of Mechanics Lien. What would need to happen to give them the partial.

3 months ago

The customer wants to pay some of the amount due and then have us do a partial release of Mech Lien. They also want to know if they pay “payments” will we keep changing the Partial release of Mech Lien.

Senior Legal Associate Levelset

That’s a good question. The California Civil Code does not specifically reference the ability to partially release a filed mechanics lien (though, the section on design professional liens does). So, there’s no statutory process assured to partially release a filed mechanics lien in California, while leaving the remainder of the lien intact.

However, it certainly may be possible to partially release a filed lien by filing a document that is clearly titled as to indicate that the lien should only be partially released, and such a document would need to clearly indicate how much of the debt remains unpaid and to what extent the lien should remain intact. Practically, it’s common for claimants to attempt to partially release their filed liens, and filing a partial lien release may certainly release only the desired portion of that lien. However, it’s still worth noting that because the partial release of a filed lien isn’t contemplated by California statute, there could be some risk involved.

There’s another option that might be worth exploring, too. Rather than an actual lien release filing itself, a claimant may be able to provide a partial lien waiver instead. While a lien waiver will not actively release a filed lien, by submitting a waiver, the claimant is waiving their right to collect on some portion of the filed lien. And, with a lien waiver being submitted, that claimant forgoes the ability to enforce the filed lien to the extent that the lien has been partially waived. Some owners or other customers might not be totally satisfied with a partial waiver (rather than a partial release), but it could serve as a showing of good faith and some more-reasonable owners and customers may be satisfied with a waiver.

For more information on California lien law, this resource will be helpful: California Lien and Notice Overview, FAQs, and Statutes.

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