California Mechanics Lien Form and Preliminary Notice Form [Free Download]

California mechanics lien form
Below you’ll find a California mechanics lien form and preliminary notice form, both of which are useful to anybody furnishing materials, labor or services to construction projects in the golden state. All forms are provided subject to zlien’s terms of use. These forms relate only to private projects in the state of California.

Free California Mechanics Lien Form


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When unpaid on a construction project in California, parties may file a mechanics lien against the property, gaining a security interest in the property itself for the value of their services. Filing a mechanics lien in California can be a bit tricky, so you may want to read How To File a California Mechanics Lien. Remember to follow these crucial steps:

  1. Fill out the form completely and correctly. Include the correct property owner (verified by public records), and if possible, the legal property description.
  2. Mail a copy of the mechanics lien form, along with the statutory-formatted “Notice of Lien” to the property owner by certified mail.
  3. Prepare and have notarized an affidavit wherein you swear that the Notice of Lien was mailed to the property owner
  4. File the mechanics lien form, the Notice of Lien you mailed to the property owner, and the Affidavit of Mailing with the clerk.  Make sure you follow all formatting requirements, have the proper filing fee prepared, and are not sending it to a busy recorder via regular mail or fed ex (you may have to walk it in yourself or get a courier).
  5. Calendar the foreclosure date — it’s 90 days after your filing.

Free California Preliminary Notice Form


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Until July 1, 2012, this document was called the “20-Day Preliminary Notice.” The new statutory framework for California mechanics liens, however, changed this designation, and the notice is now simply called “Preliminary Notice.”

The California preliminary notice document must meet specific statutory requirements, and include specific language designed by the statute. Using the form above should meet these requirements. Be careful whenever using any preliminary notice forms, however, to make sure they are specifically formatted for California’s laws.

California preliminary notices should be sent by certified mail, and while it is not essential, it is a good idea to execute an affidavit of delivery to prove your notices were sent. Preliminary notices must be sent by anyone who did not directly contract with the property owner, and they must be delivered to the property owner, the prime contractor and the lender.

If you did contract directly with the property owner, you must send your preliminary notice to the lenders for the project. Additionally, if you contracted with a tenant or if the tenant contracted instead of the property owner, in addition to notifying the property owner you should also send notice to the tenant.

The Value of zlien’s Services

While forms are important and zlien prides itself on having the most complete and accurate set forms, there is more to filing a mechanics lien or properly sending a  notice to owner than just filling out the form and sending it on its way.  We provide these forms to our readers free of charge, but that’s because we understand that the true value of zlien’s service is more than just providing our clients with forms.

First, forms are fluid.  The forms we provide above are simple generic forms for California mechanics liens. However, depending on your role in the project and the work you’re performing, these lien forms may exclude certain fields, or may change slightly in one way or another.  Plus, you have to make a decision about which form is the right form for you to use. When you use the LienPilot, all of these nuances and variables are taken into consideration.

Second, there are a lot of steps in putting these documents together and getting them filed or delivered.  A service like zlien that handles all of the logistics has a value that cannot be understated.  Take a look at this blog post for a more detailed explanation: Why You Shouldn’t Use Do-It-Yourself Mechanic Lien and Notice Forms.

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  • Brett Jay Lazarus

    When I got married, my wife told me that any of the improvements I made to our house would come back to me when we sold the house. She fraudulently reconveyed the house away. Any suggestions?

    • Scott Wolfe Jr

      Hi Brett – Thanks for commenting on the blog. I’m not sure I can help you with this one – sounds a bit like a domestic issue, or a general breach of contract claim. From the lien perspective, it sounds like you did the work to the house quite some time ago (…”When I got married”). Your lien window, therefore, has probably long closed as California mechanics liens must be filed within 90 days from completion of the work. Even if you were in that window, it’s a touch one because you’re not actually owed anything until the house was sold, so you wouldn’t be owed any amount of money to put on the lien.

      In this type of circumstance you will want to consult with an attorney to review your specific situation and advise you on your rights. I would recommend an attorney that specializing in construction law or some type of business law, since this relates so much to contract, and not necessarily a domestic lawyer – unless you are divorced with a divorce decree that may affect your rights under this scenario, in which case a domestic lawyer is probably best.

      Good luck.

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  • Angel


    I own a tree nursery and I’m a large specimen tree grower and provider for construction projects. I am not a licensed contractor. About 5 months ago i sold many trees for a very large project through a broker who can also be considered a nursery owner/grower. I received payment for the trees through the broker as i was billing him and he was billing the owner and making commission. However I am still owed over $8,000 in freight charges. The broker has forwarded me the owners contact info and told me to deal with the owner directly. I have contacted the owner and for months i have insisted for him to pay me. all I’ve gotten are false promises of payment. I still haven’t been paid and the owner seems to be avoiding establishing communication with me now. I did not send a preliminary notice so i am not sure if i can place a lien or what options i may have. any advice? thanks.

    • Scott Wolfe Jr

      Hi Angel. Thanks for the comment and for reading. I’m going to assume that you are in California since you posted on the California blog post. Your question is a bit tricky, and so you may want to double check with an attorney who can more closely look at your claims.

      With that disclaimer in place, here are my thoughts:

      1) Your primary issue is that the freight charges may not be lienable. Although you may be owed the money according to your contract (with the grower / broker), it may not be something that can be included in your lien claim. As we explore in the Zlien resources on California’s Mechanics Lien Law, the lien amount is limited to the reasonable value of the work or materials provided by the claimant, or the price the parties agree to pay…whichever is less! The “whichever is less” clause likely eliminates your opportunity to lien for freight charges, b/c it is not part of the “value” of the materials…unless, which may be possible depending on industry standards and the situation, may actually be part of the value. This is a very messy area of California lien law.

      2) Are you on time? That’s the next question. If a notice of contract was not filed you would have 90 days from the completion of the entire project. It sounds like some time has passed since your specific furnishing, and I’m not sure when the project had completed. This is something that if you can get pass #1, you would want to be cautious of.

      Good luck.