The lien was mailed to homeowner but returned to Zlien. The homeowner has not received a copy. The General Contractor received a copy, but we are the GC and filed the lien. We’d like to confirm if any additional action is needed to fully serve the homeowner?

Answered 2 weeks ago

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Matt Viator

Legal Associate zlien

First, it's worth noting that while I'm not able to provide advice on how to proceed, I can provide some information that might be helpful to you in making that determination for yourself. Under § 8416(c)(1) of the California Civil Code, a copy of the mechanics lien must be served on the owner by registered or certified mail to the owner or reputed owner at their place of residence, place of business, or at their address that appears on the building permit. § 8416(c)(2) contemplates how notice should be sent if notice under § 8416(c)(1) can't be achieved. Under that section, if the owner cannot be served, then a copy of the lien claim may be sent (in the same manner) to the construction lender or to the original contractor. Obviously, when an original contractor is the party making the claim, self-service will likely not fulfill this requirement. But, it's still worth noting that, when notice is attempted under § 8416(c)(1) and (2), even where the owner does not receive the notice, that notice may still be effective. This idea comes from § 8416(d) of the California Civil Code. Under that section, as long as the notice is mailed as required, "Service of the copy of the claim of mechanics lien...is complete at the time of the deposit of that mail." Thus, it's very important to keep track of the proof that the notice was properly sent. Still, it's a very good idea to undertake whatever means are necessary to get the property owner a claim of the lien in order to preemptively squash any potential for the owner to claim they were unaware of the lien. Plus - the whole point of a mechanics lien is to compel payment, and if an owner isn't aware of the filed lien, they can't begin to deal with the situation and payment cannot be obtained.

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