The mechanic’s lien remains one of the best tools a licensed California contractor has to recover payment for work completed. Note that the contractor must be licensed. Under California law, an unlicensed contractor is not entitled to recover payment for any work performed. If you don’t have a contractor’s license, you need to get one.
Assuming you are properly licensed, you must provide a preliminary lien notice. This notice attaches from the time it is served meaning your lien can only include work performed after the notice was filed. Remember, you have no right to include work performed prior to your preliminary lien notice in your mechanic’s lien total. The failure to serve a notice altogether eliminates your mechanic’s lien rights.
It is not uncommon for a contractor to fail to comply with preliminary lien notice requirements, as procedural mistakes remain the biggest problems contractors face when enforcing mechanic’s liens. While contractors of all trades and sizes face these mechanic’s liens issues, small contractors typically do not properly educate their staff to comply with technical legal provisions and, therefore, are disproportionately unable to fully utilize the enforcement powers a mechanic’s lien can provide.
Amir H. Afsar, Esq. has been practicing law since 2004 and founded his firm, Afsar Law Group, A.P.C., in 2008. Mr. Afsar and his law firm represent clients and also mediate/arbitrate matters involving business, real estate, construction, and automotive legal claims throughout California. Mr. Afsar can be reached at Afsar Law Group, A.P.C. at 760.345.3110, Ext. 22, or via email.