Hello, we'd like to have more details on what can we do - as an architect directly hired by the residential home owner - if we are still not paid after filing a Mechanic's Lien.
Oct 16, 2018
I'm very sorry to hear about that - everyone deserves to be paid what they're owed. Quite typically, a mechanics lien filing is enough to get the attention of the owner and compel payment. Of course, sometimes that won't be enough, and enforcing the mechanics lien may become necessary. Essentially, foreclosing a mechanics lien means filing a lawsuit to enforce the lien and force the owner's hand - and it could result in the foreclosure of the project property in order to pay debts to the lienor. However, considering litigation can be expensive (and risky), adding an additional step can help spur recovery - enter: the Notice of Intent to Foreclose. A Notice of Intent to Foreclose is a warning. It states that, if payment isn't made and made soon, a lawsuit to enforce the lien claim will be filed. Considering the drastic nature of lien foreclosure actions, often, this will help compel payment without needing to foreclose a lien. Of course, it's important to keep an eye on the lien foreclosure deadline (in California, 90 days from filing the mechanics lien). If that date comes and goes without a lawsuit filed, a claimant could lose their ability to enforce their lien and would likely need to seek out some other method of recovery. It's also worth noting that a Notice of Intent to Foreclose would not work to extend this deadline. However, the lien enforcement/foreclosure deadline can be extended - and that may be an option to work with the owner and extend the time to file suit. We discuss California lien extensions in this article: Understanding Notice of Credit and Lien Extensions in California.