Chances are you won’t hear about a mechanic’s lien until one is recorded against your property. But mechanic’s liens are serious and unless they’re handled properly, your commercial construction project could come to a halt — or worse. With so much at stake, it’s important to seek help from an experienced attorney. At my Gilroy practice, the Goldblatt Law Firm, I draw on more than 35 years of experience providing strong counsel to commercial property owners throughout Santa Clara County. I can help you deal with contractors who file liens for nonpayment so that your construction project can continue and you don’t risk losing your investment.
Under California law, contractors, subcontractors, workers and suppliers can file a lien on a property if they are not paid for materials or work. If a contractor you hired does not pay their supplier or subcontractor or employee, you may also be liable for payment — even if you already paid the contractor directly.
If you don’t pay, the party seeking payment can place a lien against your property. This is called a mechanic’s lien. The consequences of a mechanic’s lien that is not satisfied include:
When a mechanic’s lien is filed against your property, it’s important to get legal advice right away.
The California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) maintains a contractor license status listing. It’s a good place to start before hiring a contractor. Get a list of the subcontractors, laborers and suppliers your direct contractor will use and check the CSLB to see their license status.
Ensure that your written agreement with the contractor includes:
To help prevent mechanic’s liens, have all parties (contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers) involved with the commercial construction project endorse a joint check that is payable to all.
Subcontractors and suppliers must file a preliminary notice when there is a chance that they will file a mechanic’s lien. If they do not file this notice, they cannot file a lien. The preliminary notice may be delivered in person or by mail before work begins or up to 20 days after work begins. If you receive a preliminary notice, contact me as soon as you can. In addition to helping with preliminary notices, lien notices and claims, releases, and other documents, I can help you determine if a valid mechanic’s lien has been filed within 90 days of the work’s completion. I will then work to get the lien released or removed.
Contact a skilled California commercial construction law attorney for help with a mechanic’s lien
The Goldblatt Law Firm advises Northern California property owners who have a mechanic’s lien placed on their property. To protect your investment, please call 408-763-4715 or contact me online to schedule a free consultation at my Gilroy office. Habla español.