Information about California Liens and Preliminary Notices

In California, most labourers may not get paid on the hard work that they have done because their project manager became dishonest. The same is the case for suppliers who can become empty-handed after providing the materials because the one who did the transaction was an undependable fellow.

These events are all common in the United States and other parts of the world. To protect the workers and suppliers’ rights, they must file a mechanic’s lien before starting a project.

Although each state’s rules are similar, California is still worthy of having its own mechanic’s lien written and explained. When you file a mechanic’s lien in California, the procedures may vary slightly from other states, but the outcome is still the same. If you are the labourer or supplier, and once you get paid, you can then release the lien and find a better project.

Introduction of Mechanic’s Lien

The law in California allows the filing and enforcement of mechanic’s lien if the claimant is qualified. The lien refers to the contractors’ claim to the property’s rights or a percentage of ownership.

The whole process is received and filed in the county recorder. This serves as a protection for the contractors because they have every right to get the payments for labor, services, or equipment that they have furnished to the owner of a house or building.

The charge imposed is generally equal to the value of materials or services that the claimants have supplied. The amount of the total contract price is also considered, but the lesser amount will generally be chosen in the courts. Note that the amount will vary, and it should be specified in each case. Further reading can be made on this site here.

Before the contractors or subcontractors can file a claim in California, they should furnish a copy of preliminary notices to the parties involved. However, there’s no need for notifications when there’s another written contract between the property owner and the labourers in certain instances.

The Required Notices

To let the property owners or project managers know that the contractors will file a mechanic’s lien, a preliminary notice is served. This notice lets all the involved parties know that there’s a claim if payment has failed. These papers may be called payment bond claims in the case where the workers won’t get paid.

The 20-day preliminary notice in California is needed by contractors to let the owners know that they have the right to file the lien when they didn’t receive a single cent while working in a real estate project. This early notification should be filed 20 days before the work begins or before the materials are furnished.

The purpose of the preliminary notice is to inform all the parties involved in the construction project that some interests and rights should be protected in the duration of a property’s construction. This is the workers’ intent to get paid, and they should include a specific sum that is per the contract that they have signed. This is a powerful way to get paid in the fastest possible manner, and many project owners prioritize those who have outstanding claims filed to their properties.

Serving the Preliminary Notice

The notification letter should be delivered through posts or mail where the claimant can get proof of receipt of the delivery. If the notice was not given within 20 days, and the contractor received it afterward, the rights will only apply to the 20 days before the owners accepted the notification. If the workers send the notices when they are already 60 days working in the project, the lien will not apply to the labor or materials provided during the first 40 days.

The necessary parties who should receive the notification should include the house owner where the construction project is done and the financier of the work. If all the required parties did not receive the letter, then the lien may be unenforceable.

The address is needed for the notification. If the party filing the lien does not know the address and other pertinent information required in the form, then he needs to take the necessary steps to obtain and verify the information. Most contracts have these, and building permits require a property’s address, so it’s best to check these out.

Other ways of obtaining the address are to check with the county recorder’s office, email the general contractor, write to the property owner, or visit the attorney general’s office. Read more about county recorders here: If the entire project involves working at a public construction, then they can send requests to a qualified agency that has a copy of a contractor’s bond.

Release and Waiver

A signed release and waiver can be obtained by a contractor when it comes to a mechanic’s lien. There are unconditional and conditional waivers, and they will be a progressive approach to getting paid, or they are a step away from the final amount of payment to be made by the owners. Many states will have a different set of forms for the waivers, so it’s better to double-check first if you are downloading from a website.



Many online services can help you serve the 20-day preliminary notice and the lien if needed. You can contact an experienced person that will explain all the requirements that you need and whether your claim is valid. You may want to try other services like mediation, arbitration, and litigation, so make sure to know all of your options.

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