Mechanics Liens are a powerful tool to help construction industry businesses get paid for their work. They act like a public mark put on property that shows up in government files. Banks look for liens when selling or refinancing property. A lien can stop you from selling or refinancing property until the debt is satisfied.

You must know how to file a lien in california properly. Missing just 1 of the 3 requirements can lose your right to lien, or even result in you being SUED for putting a lien on someone else’s property. This article will walk you through all the steps you need to take to preserve, maintain, and enforce your California mechanics lien rights.

Do you need a written contract to be able to file a lien?

No, a written contract is not required in california to be able to file a mechanics lien. The only exception to this is for design professionals, who must have a direct contract with the property owner in order to have lien rights.

The deadline to record a lien is 90 days from the completion of the work of improvement. However, the owners can shorten this timeline by recording a Notice of Completion or a Notice of Cessation with the county records. You must also serve a Preliminary Notice to the Owner and any reputed Lenders on the Project (if any).

If the Owner fails to pay you after the lien is recorded, you can sue for the debt in superior court. The lawsuit is called a “lien foreclosure suit”. A lien foreclosure lawsuit can go to mediation, arbitration, or even trial. The lawsuit can be joined with any other suits brought by other contractors, subcontractors, or material suppliers.