If you’re in California, you know that you stand a chance that as a contractor you need a way to secure payment. There are many people out there who don’t believe they have to pay for work that they don’t approve of, and unfortunately, all work is work, and at your expense, sometimes you’ll get clients that don’t simply want to pay. In these cases, a contractor needs to have a special defense, and that is being able to file a mechanic’s lien. Once a contractor files a mechanic’s lien in California, which has some of their own rules as most states do, the owner’s property turns into collateral, that allow the filing claimant to reclaim their property, materials, or service they provided.
The Timeline Counts
When it comes to filing a mechanic’s lien, the first thing a contractor needs to do in California, one must know that they have to file 20-day BICA Preliminary Notices in order to secure the contractor’s lien claiming rights. This means that the notice of lien must be filled out and filed within 20 days of beginning the work for the project. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make by not doing this, because it will only cover the supplies and work that within the 20 days of notice. Therefore, it’s a general best practice to serve the lien right after you start rendering the service, or even bringing materials onto the project. That way, you will not be covered for the first 20 days of work, but anything after that twenty days of work will be covered.
If you’re a contractor who can do an exceptional job within the first twenty days and the project is that small, you may be able to be compensated, but you would want to have the notice filed 20 days before the day you start working on the project.
After the Primary Notice
After this is all said and done, you can file your mechanic’s lien up to 90 days after the last day of work, or that the work is completed. Furthermore, you have to record the mechanic’s lien within 60 days of the owner filing a Notice of Completion or Cessation, which means that your work with them is finished. If they don’t give a notice of completion or cessation, you have the full 90 days from the last day of work. That being said, you don’t want to wait too long until you file your mechanic’s lien.
When it comes to not being paid, yes, you should file for a mechanic’s lien, as long as you have secured your rights. This is a way to make sure that your money spent on supplies and services as a contractor can be secured by you, as well as also can help to push the client to take care of their fees to you. Because when you file one, the claimant may face foreclosure or even force a sale of their property if that’s what it takes to make sure you get paid.