A mechanics’ lien is a claim against the real property on which the claimant has bestowed labor or furnished material for the value of the labor done or material furnished. Anyone who has furnished labor, services, material or equipment and has properly complied with notice requirements is entitled to file a mechanics’ lien.
This includes properly licensed architects, engineers, surveyors, and contractors. Process for Recording a Lien
I. Before recording a lien, a preliminary 20-day notice must be served on the property owner and construction lender in order for a claim of lien to be enforceable. The 20-day notice must be served before recording a lien and not later than 20 days after the actual date of construction begins, and must contain the following information:
II. The notice may be served by delivering the notice personally or by first class registered or certified mail to the property owner’s residence, place of business, address shown on building permit, or the address shown on the construction trust deed.
III. The claim of lien is a written statement, signed and verified by your agent, containing the following information:
IV. A lien can be recorded, in the office of the county recorder where the property is located, after furnishing services and before the expiration of:
(Standard forms for filing mechanics’ liens are available at most stationary stores, construction bookstores, etc.)
Filing Suit to Foreclose/Recording Notice of Lis Pendens
No lien binds any property for longer than 90 days after the recording of the claim of lien, unless within that time an action to foreclose the lien is commenced in a proper court. As soon as the complaint to foreclose the lien is filed, you must record a notice of the pendency of the action (notice of lis pendens) with the county recorder.
Release a Lien
If and when you are paid in full, you can release a mechanics’ lien by filing a release of lien with the county recorder’s office where the original lien was filed.
This is provided for informational purposes only and does not purport to be a legal opinion. For specific information regarding mechanics’ liens, see the California Code of Civil Procedure §409, §3084, §3086, §3097, §3097.1, §3115, §3116, §3117, §3144, §3147, and §3154 or consult an attorney. For more information please contact AIA California’s Director of Government Relations Scott Terrell at (916) 448-9082.