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How to response to California Preliminary Notice from a supplier after already paying contractor in full?

Rancho Cucamonga, CA |
Filed under: Construction law

Hi... I just received California Preliminary Notice from a concrete supplier regarding to my backyard project after not receiving the payment from my contractor. However, my backyard project has been completed for more than 2 weeks. I already paid in full at that time. Actually, concrete work has been completed for more than one month. I have the copy of my checks paid to contractor. What should I response to this 20-day notice?

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Attorney answers 5


A response is not required but to avoid the filing of a mechanics lien based upon the notice I would advise the supplier, in writing, of the facts you have outlined. I would include a copy of your check to the contractor.

I would state in the letter that it is your understanding that since the notice was served more than 20 days after all concrete was delivered the supplier should look to the contractor for payment. Further that the recording of a mechanics lien, based upon the notice, would be improper because it was not timely served.

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I agree with the other attorney but I would also recommend you call the supplier and find out if they've been paid yet. If not tell them to look to the contractor for payment and follow up with a letter to them. I would then call the general contractor and tell him to take care of it.


In this circumstance, where the General Contractor has not made payment, you should file a complaint with the Contractors State License Board too. There are laws that require a paid General to pay subcontractors and suppliers within a set number of days from your payment to the General.

Depending on the form of contract, you can also demand the the General make payment to the supplier or bond around any lien that might be filed. At issue too is whether the 20 day notice is timely, for which there are statutes that allow you to demand retraction of any lien that may be recorded. You should look to the CSLB suggestions and give the required notice to withdraw any lien that may be filed.

One last note. If all that is done is the submission to you of a preliminary notice by the supplier, that document is privileged, and permitted by law. However, it has no legal effect, and cannot effect the title to your land, unless it is followed up by the recordation of a Mechanic's Lien by the subcontractor or supplier who might have a claim,


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Nothing! The preliminary notice is untimely. It must be served upon you within 20 days (before or after) the date of the delivery of the materials. Edward

No attorney / client relationship established. The answr is for discussion and general information only. The lawyer had not reviewed any documents or contract prior to the above comments.


A 20 Day Preliminary Notice can be served at any time, but it only "reaches back" 20 days from when it is served. This is a long way of agreeing with the other responding attorneys that it is untimely.

However, this in indicative of a bigger problem and there may be other subs and suppliers who have not been paid but have timely served 20 Day Notices. I recommend that you be proactive and firmly demand that you general pay all subs and provide you appropriate releases from all of them.

Attention: This response is based upon general legal theories and may or may not specifically address issues that affect your individual legal matter or situation. It should not be relied upon outside of the jurisdiction(s) in which the attorney is licensed to practice as each state has different laws. Each situation is fact specific and requires comprehensive legal evaluation following a thorough consultation and review of all the facts and evidence available. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship between the asking and answering parties.

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