California Preliminary Notice
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Preliminary Notice for Real Estate Located in California
A claimant other than a laborer or direct contractor must serve preliminary notice under Civ. Code 8200 in order reserve the right to to claim a future mechanic's lien on a property. The notice must be served to the owner, direct contractor, and construction lender, if any.
California law requires notice to be served within 20 days of first furnishing labor, materials, services, or equipment in a work of improvement. A claimant may give late notice, but this limits the claimant's lien to only work performed within 20 days prior to giving the late notice, and work from that point forward (Civ. Code 8204).
Notices in relation to mechanic's liens must follow requirements under Civ. Code 8102, which include the names and addresses of the owners, direct contractor, and construction lender, if any, a description of the job site and job site address, and the name, address, and relationship to the parties of the claimant providing notice.
In addition to these requirements, the preliminary notice under Civ. Code 8200 requires a general description of the work provided by the potential claimant, an estimate of the total price of the work, and a verbatim notice to the property owner established by statute. If a preliminary notice is given by a subcontractor who has not paid all compensation due to a laborer, the notice also requires the name and address of all laborers to whom payment is due (Civ. Code 8202).
Pursuant to Civ. Code 8106, notice can be served by personal delivery, mail (as provided by Civ. Code 8110), or leaving a notice and mailing a copy according to the Code of Civil Procedure for service of summons in a civil action.
While this notice is typically not recorded, it may be filed with the county recorder for the limited purpose of facilitating the recorder's mailing of notices. When recorded, the preliminary notice does not constitute a recorded document and is maintained in a separate index. It does not function to provide constructive notice to third parties (Cal Civ. Code 8214).
Consult a lawyer with questions about preliminary notices, mechanic's lien laws, or any other issues related to real property in the State of California.