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Mechanic's Liens Attorney in Los Angeles, California

It seems that there’s no end to new construction projects or remodeling work in and around the Los Angeles area. This translates to a lot of new business for contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and design professionals who will have their plates full with new customers. But what happens when you complete these jobs and can’t collect payment from your client? Sadly, every contractor out there has had to confront this reality. Fortunately, there are tools at your disposal for pursuing payment that go beyond simply sending out bills. You may want to consider using a mechanic’s lien and lawsuit—but this can be a fairly complicated procedure. 

It’s important to reach out to a local business attorney who can help you understand your choices. At Builders Law Group, Inc in Los Angeles, California, we’re able to represent clients throughout the area including Riverside, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties. Call us today to schedule a consultation.      

What Is a Mechanic’s Lien?  

Despite what the name implies, a mechanic’s lien is not reserved for only mechanics; rather, it’s a legal step that any contracted worker can take to secure payment for a completed job. A lien is essentially a hold against someone’s property that remains in place until the past due amount has been paid off. When a mechanic’s lien is placed on the property of an individual, it can have many negative effects. Properties with liens often cannot qualify for loans, cannot be sold, and cannot be refinanced until the debt is paid off. This type of lien can be a very powerful tool to fulfill your right to payment with a client, but you must follow very specific rules and regulations about how and when it has to be implemented. 

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Who Is Eligible to File a Mechanic’s Lien in California?  

Most individuals who contract their services to provide work or materials on someone else’s property, home, or land can likely use this method. Eligibility to file a mechanic's lien is based on three primary criteria: 

  1. You are currently licensed to perform the work you were contracted for, and your license didn’t lapse at any time during the project. 

  1. You have a legitimate claim and can back it up with sufficient evidence that the work was contracted and completed and left unpaid after billing. 

  1. You must file a lawsuit concurrently with the mechanic’s lien. 

What Is the Process for Filing a Lien?  

The process of filing a mechanic’s lien can be fairly complicated due to the relatively short timeline you have to complete it, the supporting documentation needed, and the need to also have a lawsuit in place at the same time. It’s highly recommended that you work with an experienced attorney during this time which can streamline the process and increase your chances of getting paid faster.  

Some individuals choose to start this process by filing something called a preliminary notice. This is a legal document filed at the beginning of the job (as opposed to the lien which is filed after the work has been completed), and it protects your right to later file a mechanic’s lien if needed. Preliminary notices are a good idea if you’re a subcontractor or supplier who does not have a direct contractual relationship with the end customer. However, if you’re the general contractor who already has a contract in place with the customer, you do not need to file a preliminary notice before beginning work.  

You should then send your customer a notice of your right to payment and prepare your lien documents. This must include the total amount you’re requesting along with documentation. Note that this can’t include any legal fees and most only include charges for labor, materials, and services. It must also include a description of the property and details about the property owner. 

When Is the Deadline to File?  

It’s very important you adhere to the deadline to file a mechanic's lien because the timeline is fairly strict. If you miss your window, you’ll be unable to use this method to get payment. After work for the contracted project has been completed a 60-day time period begins. After the 60 days have passed, you then have 90 days to record a mechanic’s lien against the property owner. After this has been filed, you then have an additional 90 days to file a lawsuit against your client which is necessary to keep the lien in place.  

Mechanics Lien Attorney Serving Los Angeles, California

If you’re in the Los Angeles, California area and would like to know more about how a mechanic’s lien can serve you, reach out to our team at Builders Law Group, Inc. At our firm, we focus on providing friendly, professional, and cost-effective legal services to all of our clients. Contact us today.