What if it is a verbal agreement with a general contractor and a unlicensed laborer. Can the laborer file or send a not

2 weeks ago

What if a general contractor hires a person without a license can that person still file or send a notice. Basically it’s a verbal agreement

Senior Legal Associate Levelset

First, a preliminary notice is essentially just an official letter. So, any party can ultimately send a preliminary notice, regardless of whether they’d have lien rights.

What’s more, California doesn’t specifically require that a contract be in writing in order for mechanics lien rights to arise. Rather, verbal agreements often give rise to valid and enforceable mechanics lien claims.

Further, note that wage laborers will generally not need to be licensed, themselves. While a contractor may need to be licensed, and while certain subcontractors must be licensed, the work of individual laborers typically doesn’t require licensure. And, while California is strict about only allowing licensed contractors to file mechanics liens, this licensure rule only applies when the work, itself, requires licensure.

Bottom line

Really, anyone can send a notice. Whether or not that notice will be effective to preserve lien rights is a separate question altogether. But still – mechanics lien rights are often available for those who provide work under verbal contracts, even if they’re unlicensed (as long as the work they perform doesn’t require licensure).

As for lien rights:

There doesn’t need to be a formal, written contract in order for mechanics lien rights to arise in California. And, an unlicensed party will only lose their right to lien if their work required licensure. So, if an unlicensed subcontractor was hired to perform work for which a license is required, then that subcontractor would be unable to file a mechanics lien. But, an employee or common wage laborer for a general contractor would likely not be required to have a license – so them being unlicensed likely would not preclude them from being able to file a mechanics lien.

I hope this was helpful! I’ve linked some resources below that I think might be relevant and helpful here:
(1) The Top 5 Reasons You Should Love to Receive Preliminary Notices
(2) California Contractors License and the CSLB: Understanding the Rules
(3) California Mechanics Lien Guide and FAQs
(4) I Just Received a Notice of Intent to Lien – What Should I Do Now?

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