Construction Defects & Construction Law Attorneys in California
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Home improvement projects can be an exciting time and are entered with complete optimism. For homeowners, homes are sanctuaries and tailoring them to particular needs is worth the investment for many. For contractors and subcontractors, this is the perfect time to gain new business and build clientele. However, issues may arise, and this can lead to legal disputes. When there is a dispute involving a contractor or the owner of the property, legal documents known as a “mechanic’s lien” are often used.
What Is A Mechanic’s Lien?
A mechanic’s lien can be recorded against a property to secure payment of a claim by anyone who supplied labor or materials for improvement of that property until the payment is relieved, and when recorded, it has priority over any subsequent lien, mortgage or trust deed. Civil Code §§ 8400, 8404, 8430, 8450. Anyone providing labor or materials for a work of improvement may record a mechanic’s lien, including the direct contractor and every subcontractor and supplier. Civil Code §§ 8400-8404. The purpose of this type of lien is to prevent property owners from taking advantage of laborers and construction workers. R. D. Reeder Lathing Co. v. Allen (1967) 66 Cal.2d 373.
A mechanic’s lien can be filed by licensed contractors, subcontractors, or suppliers that have not received payment for work that they performed or materials that they provided on the property. Mechanic’s lien only covers the reasonable value of the work provided or the contract price. Civil Code § 8430(a). However, it is important to note a mechanic’s lien does not cover damages assessed for delay caused the mechanic’s lien (i.e. amounts compensating the contractor for business disruption, lost profits, etc.). The function of a mechanic’s lien is to secure reimbursement for services and materials actually contributed to a construction site, not to facilitate recovery of consequential damages. Lambert v. Superior Court (1991) 228 Cal.App.3d 383.
Failing to receive payment for labors and worked performed cannot only cause loss of income but can have a ripple effect on a contractor’s business. Although filing a mechanic’s lien may be undesirable, it is often a necessary last resort when seeking payment to protect one’s business. Even though the premise of filing a form seems simple, the road to recovery is much more complicated. California has countless laws surrounding the requirements for filing a mechanic’s lien that create intricate and difficult timelines. These rules differentiate based upon whether a contractor, subcontractor, or design professional intends to file a mechanic’s lien. For example, California Civil Code § 8214 states a subcontractor must immediately file a preliminary notice to evidence their participation in a construction project before it has begun. Failure to file a preliminary notice will bar recovery under a mechanic’s lien for subcontractors.
Effects of A Mechanic’s Lien
A mechanic’s lien results in a range of problems for homeowners. Failing to pay the lien can result in home foreclosure and can create a cloud on the title of the home. This will make it difficult to sell the property. Furthermore, banks and lenders are generally unwilling to refinance homes or lend against property that is encumbered by liens. For all of these reasons, liens are a nuisance for homeowners. But they give important leverage to contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers, which can subject homeowners to predatory behavior.
Complex Filing Requirements
Homeowners can dispute the mechanic’s lien in the court action brought by a contractor or by obtaining a mechanic’s lien release bond to pay the lien. Civil Code § 8424. However, court actions may take time, and as mentioned above this may delay a homeowner’s ability to sell the property or obtain financing in the meantime. Because of the complexity of construction laws and regulations regarding the filing, enforcement, and satisfaction of mechanic’s liens, it is best to contact an experienced attorney.
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Whether you are a homeowner or contractor, Arcstone Law can help you. If you’re a contractor, Arctone Law can help you create concrete plans that include timely filings of related documents to ensure a mechanic’s lien is available as a legal remedy to protect your business. While you would need to go through the hours of being shuffled around between departments and searching for the correct legal forms, our attorneys have the knowledge and expertise to help with your matter.
If you’re a homeowner, Arcstone Law can help mitigate, negotiate, and seeks avenues to invalidate any mechanic’s lien claim filed against your property. Our caring and competent Los Angeles lawyers have helped a number of clients in keeping their properties by looking into every possible option based on their current financial situation. By finding the best real estate and construction lawyer in Los Angeles, you can have the best fighting chances to keep to your home. Our team is equipped with knowledge and expertise on this subject to give you the best option you have.
Call our office today to schedule your consultation with a licensed CA Real Estate Attorney at 855-219-3333.
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Arcstone Law was established as a Foreclosure Defense Law Firm helping homeowners sue the banks after the mortgage meltdown of 2008. During that time the efforts of our lawyers were recognized and published by the State of California as precedence for other attorneys to rely on. Today our team of lawyers have grown, and our practice areas now include contract law, purchase/sales, quiet title litigation, partition actions, bankruptcy, eviction law, probate, divorce law (where Real Property is at issue) estate planning, business law and personal injury.
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