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Machanic's Lien Deadlines and Details - CA

Los Angeles, CA |

We are a general contractor. We did some tile work on a home. The tile cracked and the home owner was unhappy. We told them we would fix the issue and purchased material and make an appointment to go to the home. The day before the work was to be done, the home owner said they were going out of town. So the work was put off.
Then we found out they filed a complaint against our company. They still owe us $8,500 and their job is considered complete. We gave them time to pay us the $ because we tried to be amicable. Now we want our money and the 90 days have lapsed since a worker set foot on the property, however, we had previously made plans and purchased material to do work.
Can we still file a lien? We made efforts to settle the matter amicably to no avail.

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Attorney answers 2


Generally, a contractor has 90 days from completion or last day of work to record a mechanics lien. There are some exceptions and conditions that would extend that period. It would be impossible to say if any of those would apply to you without reviewing all the facts.
If the 90 day period has lapsed, then you are probably not entitled to record a lien, and could be liable to the homeowner for filing an invalid lien. You really should consult with a construction attorney before taking any action.
Even if you might not be entitled to a mechanics lien, you can still bring a suit to collect the money owed - just not a lien related suit.
You probably have other issues to consider. If you are a general contractor, then you may be in violation of CSLB laws if you took a contract for just tile work, unless you also have a masonry license classification or subcontracted that work to someone that does have that class.
You also mention a complaint. I assume that means a CSLB complaint. If so, you should also discuss that with a knowledgeable attorney.



Thanks for the information. When I said "we were going to repair the tile" it means we were going to schedule our tile subcontractor to do the work. But we still purchased the material. We will consult an attorney to move forward. Thank you very much.

Nicholas Basil Spirtos

Nicholas Basil Spirtos


Thanks for the additional info. Just so you don't run out of time, you should contact an attorney promptly. Good luck.


You may still have time to file a lien depending on when the project as a whole was completed, especially if the job has not been finalled out by the building dept. yet. Of course you will want to respond to the CSLB complaint ASAP. It's best to talk to an experienced construction attorney about this issue because there are many issues here.

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