Mechanics' Liens

The California Constitution gives mechanics' lien rights to contractors, workers and material suppliers.

Design professionals are also afforded mechanics lien rights, but only after construction begins. Prior to construction they have design professional lien rights. This is specific only to licensed architects, engineers, and landscape architects.

While recording a mechanics' lien is a straight forward and easy process, the laws for enforcing mechanics liens are complicated and often confusing. If the lien has any possibility of being challenged, you are wise to seek the assistance of a competent attorney that understands mechanics liens before you even think about foreclosing on the lien. This could save you a significant amount of money in the long run.

By the nature of the mechanics' lien, the property owner runs the risk of having his property sold to pay the lien, so his motivation will be to fight the lien at all costs. In order to get back what you are owed using a mechanics lien, be prepared for a challenging and technical legal battle.

On the surface, applying mechanic's lien laws seems obvious, but case law has dissected and analyzed this to the point that mechanics' liens are complex and often misunderstood.

The reason that we do not make it sound easy, or a quick step by step how-to, is that there are too many important factors that can affect your rights. It would be a disservice to imply that this process is a simple affair.

We have provided the forms that the CLSB has made available. Click on the 2012 information link below to go to the forms.

To understand the critical timing of the mechanic's lien process, click here.

Click here to get the latest information on the 2012 mechanics' lien law changes. A word of warning - if you ignore these laws you run a real risk of jeopardizing your mechanic's lien rights.

Click here for information on what changes were made for 2011. This information is now for archival purposes only.


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