Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>We have a prelim notice but our customer refused to provide the General. We only have our customer as a sub and the property owner. Is the prelim still enforceable? ( We are in the state of California)
We have a prelim notice but our customer refused to provide the General. We only have our customer as a sub and the property owner. Is the prelim still enforceable? ( We are in the state of California)
We have a situation where our customer is not paying. We did file the prelim in time but our customer refused to provide the General Contractor for the job. We do have the sub (our customer) and the home owner. Is the prelim still enforceable?
Oct 22, 2018
That's a good question. Under § 8200 of the California civil code, preliminary notice must be sent to "The direct contractor or reputed direct contractor..." Correctly identifying the direct contractor and sending notice to that party (along with the owner) is always the best way to preserve lien rights. But, looking at the language of that requirement, it does appear that there's some room for error. Specifically, the word "reputed" is used. It's used a handful of times throughout the California mechanics lien statute, but it's not specifically defined in the statute. However, the word, at least in the lien law setting, typically provides some margin for error - if the "reputed" information is exchanged in good faith but is incorrect, it could still be effective. Thus, sending notice that lists a presumed general contractor could be effective as long as a claimant has reason to believe they're the direct contractor. Of course, a safer option for a claimant could be to discuss the matter with their customer and ease any worries - explaining why notice is being sent (i.e. to improve communication and transparency as well, and not merely in order to file a lien). Providing context on why the general contractor's information is being requested could help to obtain that information. Finally, in a situation where the direct contractor is unknown and that information can't be readily obtained, requesting the contractor's information from the property owner could help. Plus, the general contractor's name and contact information should also be present in any building permit of Notice of Commencement - so that info could be obtained via a records search, as well.