Void Mechanics Lien
1. Mechanic’s Lien Void if Filed Before Contractor Has Ceased Work
In the case of Precision Framing Systems Inc. v. Luzuriaga, the 4thDistrict Court of Appeal decided on August 29, 2019, that “a [mechanic’s lien] claimant other than a direct contractor may not enforce a lien unless the claimant records a claim of lien within the following time . . . after the claimant ceases to provide work.”
If a mechanic’s lien is filed prematurely, it is void and cannot be enforced (Marchant v. Hayes). In this case, the issue before the court was that Precision claimed they had ceased work when they provided the framing, including necessary trusses. The problem was that one of the trusses was defective and several of the contracted parties were blamed, including the metal fabricator. After Precision recorded its lien, Precision and/or the metal fabricator came back to the job site and repaired the trusses. Precision filed a complaint to foreclose on its lien. Precision claimed they had ceased to provide “work” within the meaning of Business & Professions Code § 8414 when they installed the trusses, and therefore their mechanic’s lien was properly filed. The Court of Appeal rejected that argument and determined that the repairs were done by Precision as part of the “scheme of improvement as a whole, citing Nevada County Lumber Co. v. Janiss. The bottom line was the court determined that Precision’s repairs of the trusses were part of their work under Section 8414, finding that the Precision contract requiredPrecision to supply the trusses necessary to complete the project, which included repair. Therefore, the court found that Precision filed its mechanic’s lien prematurely.
Comment: This seems like a logical conclusion as the owner contracted for properly installed trusses in which to complete the project. The repairs were part and parcel of the contract and the expectations of the parties.
About the Author
Scott Souders is a real estate attorney who has practiced real estate law in excess of 42 years in Southern California. The Real Estate Law Update cites cases or statutes which are summarized and should not be relied upon without fully reading the cases or statute in the advance sheets and shepardizing the same and consulting with your own attorney.