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Mechanics Lien 101

This blog talks about what a mechanics lien is, how can it be imposed on a property and how a property owner can get rid of it.

What It Is

California law provides that anytime a contractor, engineer, or architect does work that benefits real property, if that person does not get paid, he or she can assert a claim of mechanics lien.

Contractors use this important tool to assure they get paid.  But there are strict requirements for a contractor to be able to lien a property successfully.  All contractors have to record a claim of mechanics lien 90 days from the last day they worked on the property.  But an owner can cut this time by filing a Notice of Completion (“NOC”) with the county.  The NOC will reduce the time down to 60 days for general contractors and to 30 days for everyone else.  Subcontractors have to give notice to the owner of property 20 days from the start of their work before they have the right to record a mechanics lien.

How can a mechanics lien be imposed on a property? How can a property owner can get rid of it?

Once a contractor records a notice of mechanics lien, then the contractor has 90 days to file a lawsuit to “perfect the lien” or its claim of lien will be gone and the owner can file to have the property released from the claim.

If you are a contractor you must abide by these strict time limits to use the protections of the mechanics lien laws.  Also remember your lien may be wiped if the lender forecloses on the property.

If you are an owner and your property has been subjected to a claim of lien, you also have to act in a timely manner to either settle the case with the contractor to have them release their claim of lien, expunge a lien based on a claim of invalidity or countersue if you have a valid claim.

Ghassemian Law Group helps clients with mechanics lien issues regularly and has been successful in resolving numerous cases both before and after a lawsuit has started to perfect the lien.  Call us to discuss how we can help you with your mechanics lien issue.


This article is informational only and meant to provide guidance. It is not meant to be legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. For what to do in your specific situation, please consult with a qualified Construction Law attorney.


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Pacwest Construction and Development Inc

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AlvaradoSmith APC

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Hoffman Legal Corporation

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