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What Contractors Need to Know About Mechanics' Liens

If you provide contracting, subcontracting or other construction-related services in the Sacramento area, one of your biggest concerns is probably getting paid for the work that you do or materials that you supply. At Trainor Fairbrook, we know how important receiving payment for the labor, services and materials you provide to a project. Payment for these services is the lifeblood to any business, allowing you to take care of your employees and to maintain the profitability of your business.

Accepting a private works job as a subcontractor or supplier can be especially risky if the owner makes payments directly to the general contractor. In that circumatsance, a subcontractor or supplier needs to ensure that it has the ability to protect themselves through the recording of a mechanic's lien. Assuming the service of a proper preliminary notice, a mechanic's lien allows you to record a claim against an owner's property in the amount reasonably owed. Should the owner try to sell their property, the lien allows the debt owed to your company to be paid from the proceeds.

There are strict deadlines associated with the recording of a mechanic's lien, so if you have a payment dispute with the owner or a higher tier contractor, it is wise to act sooner rather than later. Based on a number of factors, a mechanic's lien typically needs to be recorded between 30 and 90 days from completion of your work or completion of the project. If you are not clear on when the timelines are triggered, it is important that you speak to an experienced construction attorney.

Furthermore, mechanics' liens are only good for ninety days after they are recorded. Before the expiration of that ninety day period, if the dispute has not been resolved, in order to perfect your rights under the recorded mechanics' lien, you must file an actual lawsuit foreclosing on that lien. If you fail to file within the ninety day period, your lien will be stale and subject to removal or expungement. This time period may be expanded if a lien release bond is obtained as to your specific lien.

For more information on legal issues facing construction firms, please visit our web page or contact one of Trainor Fairbrook's experienced construction attorneys at (916) 929-7000.

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