Los Angeles, CA Mechanics Liens Law Firm
California’s mechanics lien law provides that mechanics, persons furnishing materials, artisans, and laborers have a lien on the property on which they have provided labor or furnished materials, for the value of the labor done and/or materials furnished. A mechanics lien attaches once construction has been undertaken or by the doing of visible work on the land or the delivery of construction materials to the land.
The work or materials must be authorized for the mechanic’s lien to encumber the property. Work is authorized if it is either (1) provided at the request of, or agreed to, by the owner; or (2) provided or authorized by a direct contractor, subcontractor, architect or other person having charge of all or part of the work of improvement. The amount of the mechanic’s lien is either the reasonable value of the work provided, or the amount agreed to between the claimant and the person with whom the claimant contracted.
An important advantage of a valid mechanics lien is that this type of lien has priority over other liens filed against the real property such as mortgages, deeds of trust, or other encumbrance on the property. The real property is adversely affected such as preventing the property owner from selling the property or may result in foreclosure of the lien and sale of the property to satisfy the mechanic’s lien.
Prior to recording a mechanics lien, the claimant must give preliminary notice to (1) the owner or reputed owner, (2) the direct contractor or reputed direct contractor to which the claimant provides work, either directly or through one or more subcontractors, and (3) the construction lender or reputed construction lender, if any. The claimant must then record a written claim of lien in the county where the real property is located. If the claimant Is a direct contractor the mechanic’s lien must be recorded between completion of the construction contract and either 90 days after completion of the work of improvement if no notice of completion or cessation has been recorded or 60 days after the recordation of the notice of completion or cessation. Any other claimant must record the mechanic’s lien after the claimant ceased to provide work and prior to the expiration of either 90 days after completion of the work of improvement if no notice of completion has been recorded or 30 days after recordation of a notice of completion or cessation.
The claimant must commence an action to enforce a lien within 90 days of its recordation. Failure to commence such action within that time period results in the expiration of the mechanics lien rendering it unenforceable. However, the claimant may be able to file and enforce a second lien for the same work if the owner has not petitioned for a decree to release the real property from the lien. After the time for bringing an action to enforce the mechanic’s lien has expired without commencement of an action by the claimant, the owner of the real property may petition the court to release the property from the mechanic’s lien.