New Mechanic’s Lien Procedures in California Effective January 1, 2011

By David C. Swedelson, SwedelsonGottlieb

Effective January 1, 2011, California law imposes new requirements and notice procedures for contractors who are serving and recording mechanic’s liens. California Civil Code § 3084(a)(6)-(7) now mandates that a valid mechanic’s lien must contain the following information in addition to what the law currently prescribes:

• Particular language in 10-point boldface type entitled “Notice of Mechanic’s Lien” as set forth precisely in the statute, and
• Affidavit of proof of service on the owner or reputed owner.

We expect that contractors will use old forms, or commercially prepared forms that may not comply with the new law. The law makes clear that a failure to meet the requirements would cause the mechanic’s lien to be unenforceable as a matter of law.
Contractors often fail to comply with the law as it relates to mechanic’s liens. Often, they name the wrong party as the owner (the association does not usually own the common area), and these new changes will further frustrate some contractors’ efforts to lien the property at California condominium associations.

These amendments also affect the recordation of a lis pendens for a suit to foreclose a mechanic’s lien. The lis pendens, recorded as an extra step to secure the contractor’s purported obligation, is now legally mandatory beginning January 1, 2011 under Civil Code § 3146. The lis pendens must be recorded within 20 days after filing of the foreclosure action, and we suspect that some contractors and their attorneys will miss this requirement. You can read this new legislation here.

If your association is served and/or receives a mechanic’s lien, it is best that you confer with legal counsel who can determine, among other things, whether the lien is valid and enforceable.

For more information or to consult regarding a mechanic’s lien or other California common interest development issue, please contact SwedelsonGottlieb Senior Partner David C. Swedelson directly at

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