Category Archives: bonds

California’s Mechanics Lien

In California, liens filed on private property are known as Mechanic’s Liens. When a California mechanics lien is filed with regard to work performed on privately owned property, it attaches to and encumbers the fee simple ownership of property.
In most circumstances, California does not allow mechanics liens to be filed on government owned property.  However, nearly every project on government owned project is required to have a payment bond in place to protect subcontractors and suppliers. Filing a claim against the payment bond secures your claim for money in a way that is similar to filing a lien claim. In addition to the payment bond, stop notices may also be filed.

Pre-lien notices are required to be served prior to filing a California mechanics’ lien claim. Within 20 days of the commencement of work on the property, subcontractors and suppliers should provide written notice to the owner, the general contractor and the construction lender that they are performing work on the property.   If the notice is served late, then the claimant can claim a California construction lien for the value of the labor or materials provided in the 20 days preceding the service of the notice and thereafter.

Prime contractors must file a California claim of lien within 60 days after a notice of completion or notice of cessation is recorded, or if no recording of completion or cessation is accomplished, within 90 days after the completion of the work of improvement. Subcontractors and materialmen must file a California claim of lien within 30 days after a notice of completion or notice of cessation is recorded, or if no recording of completion or cessation is accomplished, within 90 days after the completion of the work of improvement.

Check out our web page at for more information about state guides and our processes.

How To Make A Bond Claim Work for You

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PressureWorking On a Public Project? Preserve Your Right to Payment 
In many ways, a bond claim is similar to a lien claim. Instead of placing a lien on real estate, you place a claim against a bond (essentially cash backed by a first tier company regulated by the State). In the same sense, the company that the bond covers (usually a prime contractor on the Project) has the right to know his exposure on the project. Thus, many jurisdictions require that if you do not have a contract with the contractor, you must inform the contractor that you are working or providing materials to the project. Failure to provide a pre-bond notice can result in a claim being denied. If you need to know whether your State requires a pre-bond notice, check out our Reference Desk, which contains a wealth of information about mechanics liens and bonds.  

prelienHow Do I Know if a Project Is Bonded? 

If the project on which you are working is a public in nature, funded by the government, or on government land (i.e. libraries, schools, military bases, the Washington Monument), then there’s a 99% chance that a bond is in place. All States and the Federal Government require that the prime contractors on a project (and in some cases subcontractors that have a contract exceeding a certain threshold amount) procure a bond to protect subcontractors and suppliers that they hire.

Commercial Projects can be a bit trickier, but keep in mind that the owner requires the bond because they want to ensure that you get paid. Calling the owner, the project architect or the project engineer and asking for a copy of the bond usually works. If you’re looking to file a bond claim, we offer such services for a low flat price. Check out our website or give us a call for more information.  

moveCan If File a Bond Claim and a Lien Claim on the Same Project? 
YES! At least most of the time. A bond exists in many States as extra protection. While many States do not allow for any type of mechanics lien to be filed on a public project, many other do, and also do not prohibit you from taking full advantage of the bond at the same time.
Take the necessary action that you need to take and file both a bond claim and a mechanics lien when you are not paid for the work you perform. 
For information on good collection practices, make sure to check out our Accounts Management Section.
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