thanks for your response. it was very informative. however can you clear #3. you said owner can not escape liability for lien unless a proper notice of non-responsibility was timely recorded and posted. but then it says if rental agreement required tenant to make improvements, even a notice might not help. can you clear if it does help the owner or not?
-if we are forced to expunge the lien, can you do this based on contingency to do it and get your fees from the contractor?
A notice of non-responsibility is meaningless if the lease agreement between the owner of the property and the tenant who contracted with the contractor required the tenant to do the repairs or improvements. Example: a clause in the lease agreement requires the tenant to upgrade electrical, plumbing, stucco the exterior, etc. A subcontractor or contractor could still lien against the owner's interest because the work was required as part of the lease and recording and posting a notice of non-responsibility would not allow the owner a defense against a lien recorded against the owner's interest.
As for expunging the lien, I can certainly help you with this but I do not work on a contingency basis on these types of matters. The statutes provide that you can recover your attorneys' fees if successful. You might also consider suing the contractor to recover all monies paid as unlicensed contractors are not entitled to any compensation, regardless of the quality of their work. Under a separate statute, if you are damaged by someone who's work requires a license and they don't have the requisite license, you can also recover treble damages up to $10,000.00 plus your fees and costs.
If you were to obtain a favorable judgment against the contractor, you can send a copy to the Contractors State License Board and if it's not paid in 90 days, they will suspend the contractor (if he/she did in fact have a license).
in the lease agreement there was no specifications of what works had to be done. it was just a general clause that any interior work to be done by tenant as it is common in all commercial leases.
In that case, if the owner properly posted and recorded a notice of non-responsibility, the contractor, even if properly licensed, would not be able to foreclose on the ownership interest under a mechanics' lien, only the leasehold interest. Again, this assumes the contractor was in fact duly licensed. If not, then the entire lien is invalid.