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The California Preliminary Notice and Architectural Fees

By David Barnier

What can an architect do when his client won't pay the final payment due?

QUESTION:

I am an architect who is having difficulty with the final payment of fees from a client in Riverside County. Can I file a 20-day lien notice and then a lien for the final fees due? I have been employed on this project for over a year.

Thanks,
Ted Powell

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A 20-day preliminary notice was not required if your client was the sole property owner

Answer:

There are a lot of variables that will affect the answer to this question but I'll try to make some assumptions.

A 20-day preliminary notice was not required if your client was the sole property owner.

If your client was anyone other than the property owner, then lien rights would only exist for work provided after the date that is 20 days prior to the date on which you served the property owner with a preliminary notice.

The right to lien depends upon the status of the project. Has construction begun? If not, you might still be able to record a design professional's lien.

If construction has begun, is the project completed? If not, then an immediately recorded lien will be timely.

--
Thank you to Dave Barnier for the above information. :) Mr. Barnier is a practicing litigation attorney in San Diego CA and can be reached at 619.682.4842.

The information in this article is based upon California law current at the time of writing and is provided for general information, only. The information provided illustrates laws and legal principals in general. Any information or analysis presented in this article is intended solely to educate the reader on general issues. A comprehensive review of facts, documents, and applicable laws is always required before any attorney can competently provide any legal advice regarding any particular situation. In short: Please do not rely on any part of this article when analyzing any specific situation affecting you or your business.


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Article Series: Preliminary Lien Law


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Image of, and link to, California 20-Day Preliminary Notice form

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Word and PDF versions

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  • Unlimited Free Replacement
  • Unlimited Free Support
  • Exclusive, In-Depth, "Exactly How To Do The California Preliminary Notice" Article!

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Image of, and link to, California 20-Day Preliminary Notice form

$14.95
California 20-Day Preliminary Lien Notice
Word and PDF versions

  • Instant Download
  • Unlimited Usage
  • Unlimited Free Replacement
  • Unlimited Free Support
  • Includes an Exclusive, In-Depth, How-to Article!

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Preliminary Notices and Signatures

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Amending a Preliminary Lien Notice

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Preliminary Liens Protect Lien Rights

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Who Gets a Copy of the Preliminary Liens

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Image of, and link to, California 20-Day Preliminary Notice form

$14.95
California 20-Day Preliminary Notices
Word and PDF versions

  • Instant Download
  • Unlimited Usage
  • Unlimited Free Replacement
  • Unlimited Free Support
  • Includes an Exclusive, In-Depth, How-to Article!

Construction-Business-Forms.com


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Image of, and link to, California 20-Day Preliminary Notice form

$14.95
California 20-Day Preliminary Lien Notices
Word and PDF versions

  • Instant Download
  • Unlimited Usage
  • Unlimited Free Replacement
  • Unlimited Free Support
  • Includes an Exclusive, In-Depth, How-to Article!

Construction-Business-Forms.com


Preliminary Liens and Notifying the Correct Parties

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Mishandling of, or Not Processing, Preliminary Liens

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At one time the California preliminary notice form was mandated by California to be titled "20-Day Preliminary Notice Form" (exactly, word for word). The California mandate has since changed and the form is now known as the "Preliminary Notice Form" (again, exactly, word for word). Make sure what your state requires and make sure your forms are valid.