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Understanding mechanic’s liens

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2020 | Contract breach

Unless you have turned your construction company into an exercise in philanthropy, where you go around doing work for free, you probably need to get paid for your work. That is how you pay your employees and make a living for yourself. Unfortunately, some people out there do not believe in paying on time or at all.

When you sign a contract to do work on a Santa Ana property, the contract protects your right to be reimbursed for your work. If the person you are working for refuses to pay, you may file for a mechanic’s lien. In effect, this means that you have a claim on the property until they discharge the lien by paying what they owe you.

Preliminary notice

Under California law, you can file a lien for services or supplies you provide. When you start work, you need to file a preliminary notice. It protects your right to file a lien later if required. If you wait to file the initial notice, you will not be able to claim for any services provided, or supplies delivered more than 20 days before you filed the preliminary notice. Doing it at the start ensures everything is covered.

Serving a lien

You only have 90 days after finishing your work or delivering supplies to file a mechanic’s lien for nonpayment. However, if the property owner files a notice of completion or cessation, this reduces the time you have to file. If you are the direct contractor, you have 60 days from the date the property owner filed the notice. If you are a subcontractor, you only have 30 days.

If you are worried about payment delays, seek legal help to understand whether you should consider a mechanic’s lien. An experienced attorney can help you submit your application on time without errors, which could delay the process and cost you your chance to place the lien.