If you are trying to enforce a mechanics lien on a construction project in the state of California, it is typically going to be the same process, no matter what the project may have been. You are going to want to serve the person the lien is against with a pre-notice, then prepare the lien, and finally, if it is necessary you are going to want to take the appropriate legal action in order to have the lien enforced. After that, you are going to get paid and eventually release the lien once you have received all of your money.
Here is how you go about the process of filing a mechanic’s lien in the state of California.
Step #1: Serve the Preliminary Notice
When it comes to California, the first thing that you are going to want to do in order to protect your lien rights, is to start out with a Preliminary Notice.
If you are filing a Preliminary Notice, it is going to need to be served within the first 20 days of the very first furnishing of materials or labor to the site of the construction project. This Preliminary Notice is going to essentially preserve your rights to the mechanics lien that you have for the project if you are not paid everything that is owed to you. While it is possible to file the Preliminary Notice after the 20 first days, you are going to need to know that it is only going to cover the cost of materials and labor for the 20 days prior to the notice being served.
Step #2: Timing is Everything When Recording the Lien
If you have not been paid for your work as agreed upon, the next thing that you are going to want to do is to record the lien. The timing that you are going to need to record the lien will be dependent upon the actual completion of the project.
Essentially, as soon as you have successfully completed a project, you are going to have up to 90 days in order to record the lien and then serve it to the owner of the property. The one speed bump here is going to be if the property owner has already filed a Notice of Cessation or Completion. If this does happen, you will then only have 30 days to record the lien.
Step #3: Taking Legal Action
Once you have recorded the lien, you are going to have 90 days to file a suit that will enforce the lien. This lawsuit is going to have to have all of the interested parties involved and named on it, including any owners, contractors, lenders or material suppliers that have a lien against the project property. If the lien is not filed in a timely manner, it will then become null and void, essentially becoming unenforceable. With that being said, be sure that you follow any and all timelines that are required for your mechanics lien. This is going to be the only way to ensure that it doesn’t become void.