California Preliminary Notice

The owner won't pay and the supplier didn't do the California preliminary notice

QUESTION:

Our company supplied seed to a subcontractor for a project but we didn't do a California preliminary notice. Now the subcontractor is telling us that the owner won't pay the invoices.

We have normal net 30 terms since we are not contractors and do not file Prelims as a normal course of business.

The debt is now over 4 months old so my question is whether I can still file a lien?

I sent a Prelim but it was months after the 20 day period so I assume that does not have any benefit.

Sue Ward
ssseeds.com

Without a California preliminary notice having been served *properly*, you can't file a mechanic's lien

ANSWER:

You have a good understanding of the rules.

Unfortunately, your good understanding is correct.

If your contract was with a subcontractor, you would only have lien rights for materials provided after the date that is 20 days prior to the date on which you served the property owner with a California preliminary notice.

Luckily, you have rights against the subcontractor.

The subcontractor will owe you on the terms of your agreement. Suppliers often are able to dictate the terms on which they sell materials on credit.

Your contract may include service charge terms and an attorneys' fees provision that will be useful with your customer.

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California 20-Day Preliminary Lien Notice / Pre-Lien
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Your customer cannot avoid paying you on the basis of non-payment by the owner

Your customer cannot avoid paying you on the basis of non-payment by the owner.

Even if you had valid lien rights, you would not be obligated to await the outcome of an expensive lawsuit to foreclose upon your lien.

The right to lien is exactly that -- a "right." It's not an obligation and it doesn't impact your right to be paid by your customer on the terms of your agreement with your customer.

Your subcontractor should acknowledge that and then attempt to convince you to forebear from pursuing a lawsuit by demonstrating to you that they are aggressively pursuing payment.

If the subcontractor does ask you to wait, you might consider asking the subcontractor for a promissory note with a payment due date a few weeks or months away. The promissory note would be an easier debt to enforce in court than the invoices for the seed. You would want to make sure the promissory note had favorable terms to maximize its benefit.

--
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


Preliminary Notices and Conflicting Addresses

If the address on the Grant Deed is different than the address on the prelim information given to us by the General Contractor, who do we send it to?


Nevada Notice of Right to Lien & Request for Notice of Completion

The Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How - not necessarily in that order :o)


The California Preliminary Notice Covers Up to 20 Days Back

Just because you missed the deadline doesn't mean that all is lost!


Preliminary Lien Notice Research

A preliminary lien notice won't do you any good if they don't go to the correct entities.


Who Do You Send It To?

Who is supposed to get your preliminary lien notice?


California preliminary notice, Supplier didn't do one...

Unfortunately, a prelim is required to file a lien, even if you're a supplier.


Preliminary Liens Deadlines Are Not To Be Missed

It's bad to miss the deadline, so bad that it'll cost you at least some of your lien rights.


Arizona Preliminary Liens

Arizona requires preliminary liens prior to mechanic's liens.


Who Do You Send Your Arizona Preliminary liens to?

Send your Arizona Preliminary Liens to these entities.


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

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

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

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Don't Get Stiffed Working In Arizona

Don't get stiffed - An Arizona preliminary notice can help protect against that


General Contractor Was Paid But He Won't Pay Sub

What should you do? Do you still have lien rights?


California mechanic's lien laws, preliminary notices, and change orders

Do you have to do a preliminary notice for change orders?


California Preliminary Notice & Architectural Fees

I am an architect who is having difficulty with the final payment of fees...


No Preliminary Lien and the Owner Won't Pay

You didn't do a preliminary notice and now the {friggin'} Owner won't pay up


When a Preliminary Lien Notice is Refused

Did someone refuse your preliminary lien notice?


Protect your lien rights

Preliminary liens allow you to file "real" liens


Preliminary Liens and Arizona Deadlines

Don't miss the deadline for the Arizona preliminary liens


Preliminary Liens When There's More Than One Location

The potential ramifications of using one preliminary notice for several locations when they're all under the same contract


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!

Construction-Business-Forms.com


Preliminary Notices and Dollar Amounts

Make sure the $ amount on the prelim is as accurate as possible


Preliminary Liens and Non-Responsibility

Why you should serve the owner with a prelim even if he posts a notice of non-responsibility


Preliminary Notices and Signatures

Can the signature on a preliminary notice be a copy/fax or must it be 'wet'/original?


Amending a Preliminary Lien Notice

Is it better to amend the notice, or issue a new one?


Preliminary Liens Protect Lien Rights

Brief information about preliminary liens protecting lien rights


Who Gets a Copy of the Preliminary Liens

Where to send the preliminary liens


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


Preliminary Liens Required Information - Wisconsin Primes and Generals

Information that a prime/general/direct contractor's lien notice must contain


Preliminary Liens Required Information - Wisconsin Subcontractors

Information that a subcontractor's lien notice must contain


Serving the Wrong Party

When working in Arizona be sure to timely serve the preliminary notice *to the correct parties* or there could be trouble


Preliminary Liens

A primer on preliminary liens


Getting 'Stiffed' on the Job

Preliminary liens can help save you from being 'stiffed' on the job!


Property Records are your Friend

Research property records when doing your preliminary notices


Outsourcing your Preliminary Liens

Thoughts about using a company that handles your preliminary notices for you


Preliminary Liens - a detailed, step-by-step outline

A detailed step-by-step explanation of how to process preliminary notices


Preliminary Liens

Tracking the paperwork, the proof of service, and the USPS documents for prelims


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

Make sure your prelims go to the correct entities


Mishandling of, or Not Processing, Preliminary Liens

Mishandling of, or not processing, preliminary liens is one of the top 10 mistakes contractors make




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.