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: The courts consider a mechanic’s lien to be a privilege and not a right. Youreceive its benefits only if you
to the state law requirements.Bottom line: miss a deadline by one day and you have lost it. Unlike otherareas of the law where you can argue equities, find technical exceptions, andlawful excuses, there is no forgiveness here. In this case, knowledge is notonly power, it’s a necessity.This means you will be calendaring dates for three documents: a) Pre-Lien Notice; b)Mechanic’s Lien; and c) lawsuit to foreclose the mechanic’s lien. Write down all thedeadlines in your calendar. Use a highlighter or red pen. If you have a staff, use a “fail safe”system by doubling up and putting it in their calendar also. This reminds you twice. The firstcalendar entry should be two weeks before the due date as a preliminary reminder.On the second calendar entry, do a white lie to yourself. Put the due date as oneweek before it is actually due as insurance in case you get busy or need legal advice.Time is money. You will waste a lot of valuable time running around at the lastmoment, as opposed to doing it early.
California requires a Notice be sent out before the mechanic’s lien is recorded. Forsimplicity, this notice will be referred to as the “Notice”. The basic information on this Noticeis as follows:
Name of Notice:
California Preliminary 20-Day Notice
Who Must Use this Notice:
All general contractors, subcontractors, laborers, and material/equipmentsuppliers who
have a direct contract with the owner or theowner’s agent. For example, a general contractor with a direct verbal orwritten contract with the owner who acts as the prime is not required togive the Notice.Technically, subcontractors and material/equipment suppliers who havea direct contract with the owner are considered an “original contractor”under the statute and need not serve the Notice. However, as apractical matter, it is recommended that all subs and suppliers,regardless of whether they have direct contract with the owner, serve theNotice. This is because you are still required to serve it on theconstruction lender. If you have to send a Notice to the lender, youmight as well send it to everyone.
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