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Mechanics Lien Form and When to Record

How Soon Can The Mechanic's Lien Form Be Recorded?

The mechanic's lien form must not be recorded until the entirety of labor nd/or materials and/or equipment, etc. called for under a contract have actually been provided.

A subcontractor that does record a lien before completion of his work under a contract has recorded the lien prematurely and will likely lose all mechanic's lien rights.

For a supplier, however, providing materials pursuant to a credit application, there is not one contract with a set quantity of materials.

If a subcontractor records a mechanics lien form before completion of his work, he will probably lose ALL mechanic's lien rights.

For a supplier, each order/invoice may represent an individual contract.

The supplier may record one mechanic's lien form combining the invoices, or the supplier might be able to record multiple mechanic's lien forms each related to one or more invoices (assuming that each mechanic's lien meets all timing requirements and other requirements).

It will depend on the individual contract circumstances and a construction attorney should be consulted.

Mechanics Lien Forms and Retention

Retention is not legally owed until full completion of the work.

Logically that non-owed retention amount might not yet be "lien-able" under the "lien is for the amount owed under the contract" rule.

But, because the entirety of work will have been provided at the time the lien is recorded, the amount owed as retention may be included in the lien amount even if it is not yet due under the contract.

For suppliers, it depends on each individual contract as to when they can file a mechanics lien form.

The important concern is that you do not record a lien until the entirety of work is performed.

So, can you record a mechanics lien form before completion?

Most likely no unless you're a supplier but, it would be best to check with an attorney because circumstances vary from contract to contract.

The important concern is that you do not record a lien until the entirety of your work has been performed.

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.

California Mechanics Lien Form
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