California Lien Forms

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File A Mechanics Lien

California Mechanics Lien Forms

California Mechanics Lien and Preliminary Notice forms available for free download in PDF format. All forms are made available by zlien subject to our terms of use.


California Claim of Mechanics Lien

The construction or mechanics lien, known in California as a Claim of Lien, is filed on private construction jobs by anyone who has performed labor or provided materials to a jobsite, and have not been paid. If a Notice of Cessation or Notice of Completion has been filed by the property owner, prime contractors must file the Lien within 60 days from the filing of the notice, and all others have 30 days to file. If a Notice of Cessation or Completion is not filed, all parties have 90 days from completion of the improvement’s work to file the lien. An action to enforce a lien must be filed within 90 days from the date your lien is filed.


California Release of Mechanics Lien Claim

Private and Public construction liens and statements must be canceled once payment has been received, once they have expired, or for any other applicable reasons. Lien cancellations are certificates filed with the recorder to cancel the previously filed instruments.


Preliminary Notice

In California, a 20-Day preliminary notice must be sent by all contractors who do not directly contract with the property owner.  In other words, everyone except the prime contractor. Notice must be sent within 20 days of labor or materials first serviced to the project.  It must be sent to the Owner, General Contractor and Lender/Surety. If you are past the 20 day period, you can still send notice, except it will only preserve lien rights with respect to the work performed or materials delivered after service of the notice, and for the 20 days preceding the service of the notice.


California Notice of Completion

At the conclusion of work, or when work has been abandoned or suspended, the owner can file a Notice of Cessation or Notice of Completion with the county recorder. This acts to start the lien period, and conclude it more quickly than allowed by projects without such notices filed. If a Notice of Cessation or Completion is filed, the lien period is reduced from 90 days from completion of work to 60 days for prime contractors, and 30 days for subcontractors (from date of notice).


California Notice of Credit

Liens expire 90-days after filing in California. If a party is promising to pay your claim, but just not soon enough to prevent the lien from expiring, a Notice of Credit may help. This filing extends the time period to enforce a Lien for 180 days from the date of filing. An additional Notice of Credit can be filed even at the expiration of this period, except that it may never extend the time period more than 1 year past the actual completion of the project. Notices of Credit must be signed by the Owner and the Claimant.


California Notice of Intent to Lien

While typically not required in California, a party may send any other party a “notice” that they intend to lien a project if payment is not received. This form advises the party that a lien will be filed if payment is not received within 10 days. The filing of this document does not “suspend” the liening period.


California Notice of Non-Responsibility

In California, if work is being done on property at the direction of someone other than the owner (i.e., a tenant), the owner can avoid liability from any claims of liens by filing a “Notice of Nonresponsibility” as per Cal Civ Code art 3094. The notice must be filed and posted in some conspicuous place on the site within a 10-day period after the property owner obtains knowledge of the work on the improvement.


California Public Stop Notice

In California, mechanics liens cannot be filed against a public project.  The contractors sole remedy is through a “stop work” notice. The stop work notice puts the bonding and government agents on notice of your debt, and liens the project’s funds for the amount of your claim.  The public entity is required to withhold funds from the contractor sufficient to satisfy your claim.


California Release of Stop Notice

After being paid, a claimant may deliver and file a Release of the Stop Notice to cancel its stop notice request.