Basically, one of my largest debts is financing for these paverstones and other hardscape. I was needing to file a bankruptcy because I am now broke.
Somebody mentioned to me the possibility that this might not be discharged or that there could be a mechanics lien on the house. Also something about possible ucc filing.
Please explain. How could I check? What if they didn't file and then I go chapter 7? Would it need to be the actual installers to fall under this? Please point me in the right direction.
You have to check California construction lien law. In Florida there are specific steps and time tables that builders have to file liens for non-payment and if they do not do that they are unsecured. If they are unsecured they would be discharged like everyone else. To start, I would do a lien search in the County records for your property as a start, but I also would check with a bankruptcy attorney in your city. Best of luck.
I am a Florida Licensed Attorney and this information is for general information purposes only. Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.
The voluntary lien, mechanics lien, or UCC filing would be recorded at the same office as the deed to your house. It can either be at the city or county level. Check with a local real estate office. You will need to do a title search to determine whether their are any additional liens on your property. If it is not liened then it is not secured and can be wiped out by a Chapter 7.
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UCC filings can be searched via the Secretary of State (see the appended link). A mechanic's lien must be perfected by the filing of a lawsuit to foreclose on the lien within 90 days of the lien being filed. If you have never received notice of such a lawsuit, depending on the timeline, it is likely that there is no lien.
In any event, the existence of such a lien is only of import if you have equity in the home and plan on invoking the homestead exemptions provided under CCP §704.
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The mechanic's lien issue is a bit complicated and mechanic's liens are tough for the person making the claim because they have to do everything perfectly. There is a lot more to it than can be explained here and you will need an attorney to help you sort through this particular mine field but here are the basics. There are specific time periods in which a mechanic's lien can be recorded. It has to be after the work of the particular trade is complete but within a certain time after the entire project is completed also. But just recording a mechanic's lien is not good enough. If the lien is not perfected within 90 days of it being recorded by the claimant filing a lawsuit then the lien expires on its own. It the time periods have not lapsed then it can be re-recorded but if the time periods have lapsed then it has to be taken off record with another recorded document. The claimants failure to do so entitles you to file a petition to clear your title and recover costs from the claimant. If the lien is valid and perfected then the claimant becomes a secured creditor with a lien against the property. Then you will have to analyze whether it is superior to or inferior to your homestead and to what extent it attaches. It should fall behind and other deeds of trust that were recorded prior to when the work began so even if it becomes a lien if there is no equity in the property. Your personal liability to pay will be discharged in the chapter 7 and in a chapter 13 you could strip the lien if it was unsecured. You need to have some help analyzing this one.
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