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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>You can't file a mechanics lien unless you send a California Preliminary notice. California Preliminary notice does not need to be sent to the owner, unless there is a lender. How do you file a lien on the owner? Also, do you need to file a California Preliminary notice to LLC's and Corporations?

You can't file a mechanics lien unless you send a California Preliminary notice. California Preliminary notice does not need to be sent to the owner, unless there is a lender. How do you file a lien on the owner? Also, do you need to file a California Preliminary notice to LLC's and Corporations?

CaliforniaPreliminary NoticeRight to Lien

I did not file a lien on an LLC because my understanding of a California Preliminary notice was that it is to notify the owner that work is being done on their property. The owner of the LLC is who I contracted with and he signed the contract. He owes us $40,000 and is not paying or answering our calls or emails. My boss says we need to file a lien on every project in order to be able to file a mechanics lien.

1 reply

Aug 14, 2018
I'm not entirely sure I understand the situation presented above, but providing a breakdown of California's preliminary notice and lien requirements should help here. First, as hinted at above, most parties must send preliminary notice in order to preserve their right to lien. Those hired directly by the property owner must send notice to the construction lender on the project (if one is present), but other than the lender, no other party must receive notice from a party hired directly by the property owner. For those parties not hired by the property owner, preliminary notice is likely mandatory. The exception to this rule is wage laborers - they need not send any preliminary notice to preserve their right to lien. Those parties who are not considered direct contractors or laborers must send notice to the following: the property owner, the general contractor, and the construction lender. It's important to note here that both individuals and other legal entities (such as LLC's, Corporations, and LLP's, to name a few) may also own property. So, whenever a notice must be sent to the owner - that notice must be sent to whoever is the owner of the property. i.e. If the property owner is an LLC, notice must be sent to that LLC. Regarding how to file a lien against property owned by an LLC - that should be simple as well. As mentioned in the zlien Practical Guide to Filing A California Mechanics Lien, certain owner information is required on a mechanics lien, and notice of the lien filing must be sent to the owner. Just like preliminary notice - the owner information should reflect whomever actually owns the property (whether that's an individual or an entity such as an LLC or Corporation), and notice should be sent to that owner. I hope that was helpful to clear things up - and if you have remaining questions, please feel free to post a follow-up question! For more information on the California preliminary notice, try this article: What Is a California 20-Day Preliminary Notice?
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