A California mechanic’s lien is used to seek compensation for unpaid labor or materials contributed to a job site by a tradesperson or supplier. Mechanic’s liens are filed by the unpaid worker (the “claimant”) with the recorder’s office in the county where the labor or materials were supplied. Once recorded, the claimant may enforce the lien through a lawsuit to secure an interest in the property itself for the amount to which they’re entitled.
A mechanic’s lien will obstruct the property title and make it difficult for the owner to sell or obtain additional financing. This factor incentivizes owners to resolve the matter by promptly paying the claimant.
Laws & Requirements
- Laws: Cal. Civ. Code §§ 8400 – 8494
- Signing Requirements (§ 8416(a)): Claimant
- Time Limit for Recording Lien (§ 8412 & § 8414): Ninety (90) days after contract completion. If the owner files a notice of completion or cessation, the time limit is reduced to sixty (60) days (direct contractors) and thirty (30) days (others) after the notice was filed.
- Deadline for Enforcing Lien (§ 8460(a)): Ninety (90) days (extension possible under § 8460(b)).