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Mechanic’s Liens

Knowledgeable Gilroy Attorney Handles Mechanic’s Liens

Established California lawyer protects the rights of property owners

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.

Know about mechanic’s liens before you hire a contractor

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:

  • Foreclosure — If the property owner does not pay the lien, foreclosure proceedings may start.
  • Double payment for the same job — If you as the property owner pay the direct contractor, but the direct or primary contractor has not paid subcontractors, employees, or suppliers, you may have to pay again.
  • Inability to sell or borrow against the property — If a lien was recorded on the property’s title, the property owner may not be able to refinance, mortgage, or sell the property.

When a mechanic’s lien is filed against your property, it’s important to get legal advice right away.

Choose your contractor carefully to avoid a mechanic’s lien

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:

  • Payment schedule with specific phases of the project
  • Work start and stop dates for each phase of the project
  • Costs for each element of the project
  • Listing of subcontractors and laborers for each part of the project
  • List of material suppliers

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.

Review preliminary notices and other mechanic’s lien documents promptly

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.

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  • Gilroy Office
    22 Martin St.
    Gilroy, California 95020
    Phone: 408-763-4715
    Fax: 408-847-4164