A Mechanic's Liens Attorney Can Help Navigate the Legal Process
A mechanic's lien is a statutory remedy for a contractor, subcontractor, or supplier of labor, services or materials when it has performed work but not received compensation for the work. In that instance, the contractor or subcontractor may file a mechanic's lien against the property where he performed the work. Once properly recorded at the county recorder's office, the mechanic's lien creates a security interest in the title of the property. This serves to secure the right to payment of compensation owed to the aggrieved contractor, laborer or supplier.
Unpaid Mechanic's Liens Can Result in Foreclosure on the Property
The filing of a mechanic's lien requires a complicated series of steps that must be performed in the correct order in a certain period of time after the contractor or subcontractor has completed its work. The purpose of the multi-step process is to provide proper notification to the owner that the contractor or subcontractor has not been paid.
Presuming that a mechanic's lien is valid-meaning that it complies with certain notification requirements-the aggrieved contractor or subcontractor can file a lien foreclosure action in superior court if the mechanic's lien remains unpaid ninety (90) days after it was recorded. A foreclosure action can result in the forced sale of the property in order to pay off the debt embodied by the lien.
Nuts & Bolts: Who Can File & How Is It Done?
Mechanic's liens are important tools to help protect your rights and ensure full payments for all work provided. However, navigating the often-complex rules related to these liens can be a challenge. It is important to be familiar with some of the basic requirements.
- The lien can be recorded only on private projects by contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and materialmen;
- In some cases, a subcontractor may be required to serve a preliminary notice at the start of their work on the project in order to preserve their mechanic's lien rights;
- Deadlines to file a mechanic's lien vary slightly between direct contractors and subcontractors/suppliers. For direct contractors, the lien must be recorded the earlier of (1) 90 days after project completion or; (2) 60 days after an owner records a notice of completion or cessation of the work. Conversely, subcontractors and suppliers must record a lien the earlier of (1) 90 days after project completion; or 30 days after an owner records a notice of completion or cessation of the work;
- The lien must be properly served on the owner in order to provide the owner with notice;
- A mechanic's lien must be foreclosed within 90 days of recording in order to retain a valid claim against the property. If the lien is not timely foreclosed, the owner may have the lien expunged and demand his attorney fees and costs be paid.
If you are a California contractor, subcontractor, or supplier engaged in a dispute regarding payment for work performed, our team at Bowles & Verna LLP is here to help. Please contact the managing partner of our construction practice group to discuss your situation today. We can be reached at (925) 935-3300.
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Please contact managing partner of the construction practice group, at (925) 935-3300 for a legal consultation to discuss your construction issue.