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Frequently Asked Questions - California

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About Easy Law Construction Notices
Q. What service does Easy Law Construction Notices provide?
A. We are a nationwide construction notice company dedicated to helping our clients make money by securing and collecting what they earn with professionally prepared construction notices. Our services include Preliminary Notices, Notices to Owners, Notice of Right to Lien, Mechanics' Liens, Stop Notices, Bond Claims, Collection Letters, Small Claims Complaints, and Miller Act Notices for Federal Projects.
Q. How does Easy Law differ from other firms that prepare notices?
A. We believe that we have the best and most extensive construction notice website and service in the industry. Our website is designed to provide our clients with up to date information regarding the processing of their notices and quick and easy access to educational information regarding the notice requirements for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Everyone at Easy Law is dedicated to providing outstanding quality service to our clients at a reasonable price. As an example, we make it a practice to double check the accuracy of the information we provide in our notices with telephone follow-ups and on-line research. If we discover something which varies from the information our clients initially provided, we review the changed information with our client before the notice is completed and mailed. Easy Law was established and continues to be managed by a construction law attorney who has been dedicated for over 30 years to helping contractors, material suppliers and others in the construction industry protect and collect what they earn. We also do a number of things to stay in touch with our clients' needs, including providing them with a detailed monthly evaluation form requesting their feedback on our services.
Q. Does Easy Law prepare notices for all states?
A. Yes, we provide notices for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, however, please note that not all states use the same notices and a few states require the use of an attorney to prepare liens.
Q. How long has Easy Law been in business?
A. Easy Law, Inc. was founded in 1985 by California construction law attorney Scott Green to help subcontractors, material suppliers and others in the construction industry learn how to increase their profits by protecting and collecting what they earn with the use of professionally prepared construction notices.
Q. How long does it take for Easy Law to process my request for a Pre-Lien notice?
A. Although we often process requests sooner, our standard processing time is (5) working days to research and process your requests. However, for requests which need to be expedited, we offer express (2) day service for an additional fee.
Q. Does Easy Law have a referral to a qualified construction law attorney for my state?
A. To find a construction law attorney, you can usually contact the state bar association and ask for a referral.
Pre-Lien Notices
Q. Does Easy Law give legal advice?
A. No. Easy Law is not a law firm and is not licensed to provide legal advice in any jurisdiction. The information provided by Easy Law is of a general nature written to educate and inform. As the law is constantly changing with new statutes and court rulings, even the general information provided herein may be inaccurate. Therefore, always make it a practice to consult with an experienced construction law attorney in your area to get advice for your particular situation. You can generally find an experienced construction law attorney by contacting your local state bar association and asking for a referral.
Q. What is a Pre-Lien Notice?
A. As a general rule, subcontractors, material suppliers, equipment rental companies, etc., furnishing labor, services, equipment, and/or materials to a construction project without a direct contract with the property owner must give written notice, prior to or close to the start of their work, to the property owner, general contractor, and construction lender advising or warning those parties that if they are not paid, that they will have the right to claim a lien against the property which has been improved as a result of their labor, materials, equipment, etc. Please note, however, that some states require the notice to be given after the claimant's work has been completed. Different states use different names for these notices. Some of the most common names are Preliminary Notice, Notice to Owner, and Notice of Right to Lien. The rules for Pre-Lien notices vary from state to state, so make sure you understand the requirements for your particular state so that your notice will effectively preserve your rights to assert a claim if you are not paid for your work.
Q. What is the notice called in my state?
A. Alabama uses two different pre-lien notices. An optional notice used prior to performance called a "Notice to Owner (Prior to Performance)" and a mandatory notice used prior to filing a lien called a "Notice to Owner (Unpaid Balance)."
Q. What are the specific notice requirements?
A. Subcontractors, material suppliers, equipment renters, etc., who have not contracted directly with the owner of the property being improved, must give the property owner either a Notice to Owner (Prior to Performance) or a Notice to Owner (Unpaid Balance). If the Notice To Owner (Prior to Performance) is given before any work is provided, the claimant will be in a better position to assert a lien for the full amount due. The Notice To Owner (Unpaid Balance) must be used if the owner receives notice after the claimant's work has started. In that case, the lien amount is limited to the owner's undisbursed construction funds. Therefore, the preferable practice is to mail your notice before any labor, materials, equipment, etc. are provided to the project.
Q. To whom is notice provided?
A. Property owner of record or proprietor.
Q. How is the notice to be delivered?
A. Not specified, though Certified or Registered mail is preferred.
Q. When should the notice be provided?
A. Notice to Owner (Prior to Performance) prior to the furnishing of materials and labor. Notice of Owner (Unpaid Balance) Lien must be sent before filing a verified Statement of Lien.
Q. When should my mechanics lien be recorded?
A. Laborers must file the Statement of Lien within thirty (30) days of the last labor provided on the project. Original contractors must file within six (6) months after the maturity of the entire indebtedness secured by the lien. All other claimants must file within four (4) months after the last item of work or material has been performed or furnished.
Q. Where can I get legal advice from an experienced construction law attorney and obtain more information?
A. Unfortunately, you can't call us for additional information. Easy Law is not a law firm, is not licensed to practice law in any state, and cannot give you legal advise. What you can do is go on-line or call information for a listing for the State Bar Association in your state or your local community. Most bar associations provide low cost or no cost referrals to attorneys. Ask for a referral for an attorney with at least 5 years experience in the area of construction law. For the more adventurous, you can also conduct an on-line search for your state's statutes. Most, if not all states, post their statutes,(laws), on-line. Be advised however, that not all the sites are user friendly, and when or if, you find what you are looking for, its not always easy to interpret. Your best bet is to check with a qualified and experienced construction law attorney. Good luck.
Mechanics Liens
Q. Does Easy Law give legal advice?
A. No. Easy Law is not a law firm and is not licensed to provide legal advice in any jurisdiction. The information provided by Easy Law is of a general nature written to educate and inform. As the law is constantly changing with new statutes and court rulings, even the general information provided herein may be inaccurate. Therefore, always make it a practice to consult with an experienced construction law attorney in your area to get advice for your particular situation.
Q. What is a Mechanics Lien?
A. A mechanics lien, sometimes called a claim of lien, construction lien, or simply a lien, is a claim secured by the real estate which was improved by the lien claimant. Liens are generally recorded by county recorders or court clerks and will expire and become unenforceable unless legal action is taken to enforce them. Claimants should consult with an experienced construction law attorney to determine what rights they have to secure their payment claims and when legal action is necessary.
Q. Where can I get legal advice from an experienced construction law attorney and obtain more information?
A. To find a construction law attorney, you can usually contact the state bar association and ask for a referral.
Stop Payment Notices
Q. What is a Stop Payment Notice?
A. Some states provide claimants with the ability to make a claim against a project's construction funding. These claims are sometimes referred to as stop payment notices. Where they are allowed, stop payment notices may be submitted on public and private projects, or only on one or the other. Unlike the name implies, a stop payment notice does not stop work on a project, but it does typically require the holder of the construction funds to temporarily set aside enough money from the funds remaining in the construction fund account to secure the claimants' payment claim. In order to use this remedy a claimant may be required to post a bond to protect the property owner, construction fund holder and/or prime contractor from damages for a wrongful claim. As with mechanics liens and bond claims, the time available to assert a stop payment notice is limited and may expire based upon the completion date of the project, and/or when all the available construction funds have been exhausted. Unless the claim has been paid and resolved, stop notices, like mechanics liens and bond claims also generally expire and become unenforceable a short time after they are submitted unless legal action is taken to enforce them. Therefore, claimants should promptly consult with a qualified construction law attorney to determine what if any rights they may have to secure their claim for payment and when and how those rights should be exercised.
Q. Do I have to take legal action to enforce my claim?
A. If the owner, lender, prime contractor, or your customer doesn't pay you after you have made a stop notice claim, then you may have to file a lawsuit in order to enforce your rights. To determine when your rights will expire to file a suit to enforce your rights consult with a qualified construction law attorney in your area. Be aware that if you don't take action in a timely manner, you may completely lose your rights to collect on your claim.
Q. Where can I get legal advice from an experienced construction law attorney and obtain more information?
A. To find a construction law attorney, you can usually contact the state bar association and ask for a referral.
Payment Bond Claims
Q. Does Easy Law give legal advice?
A. No. Easy Law is not a law firm and is not licensed to provide legal advice in any jurisdiction. The information provided by Easy Law is of a general nature written to educate and inform. As the law is constantly changing with new statutes and court rulings, even the general information provided herein may be inaccurate. Therefore, always make it a practice to consult with an experienced construction law attorney in your area to get advice for your particular situation.
Q. What is a payment bond claim?
A. There are several different types of bonds which may be available in your state to satisfy a claim for unpaid services. Please note, however, that state laws regarding bonds are not uniform, therefore, be sure and consult with an experienced construction law attorney in your state to determine what course of action to take for your specific claim. Some states require contractors to obtain a "License Bond" before issuing a contractor's license to an applicant. In those states, claims can generally be made against a License Bond by anyone who has suffered damages as a result of a contractor's violation of that state's Consumer Protection License Laws which regulate contractors. On most public projects and some private projects a payment bond is posted by the prime contractor. Generally speaking, payment bonds provide a potential source of payment for subcontractors, material suppliers, and others who provide labor, materials, services, and/or equipment, etc. to construction projects when they are not paid in accordance with their contract agreements. Always be sure to consult with an experienced construction law attorney in your area to determine which rights and remedies apply to your facts.
Q. Where can I get legal advice from an experienced construction law attorney and obtain more information?
A. To find a construction law attorney, you can usually contact the state bar association and ask for a referral.
Miller Act Claims
Q. Does Easy Law give legal advice?
A. No. Easy Law is not a law firm and is not licensed to provide legal advice in any jurisdiction. The information provided by Easy Law is of a general nature written to educate and inform. As the law is constantly changing with new statutes and court rulings, even the general information provided herein may be inaccurate. Therefore, always make it a practice to consult with an experienced construction law attorney in your area to get advice for your particular situation.
Q. What is a Miller Act Claim?
A. Miller Act Claims apply to Federal Public Works projects. They are made against the Miller Act payment bond posted on a Federal Project by the project's prime contractor. There are no Pre-lien Notices, Mechanics' Liens, or Stop Notices on Federal projects. Consult with an experienced construction law attorney in your area to determine what rights and remedies apply to your fact situation.
Q. Where can I get legal advice from an experienced construction law attorney?
A. To find a construction law attorney, you can usually contact the state bar association and ask for a referral.
Construction Law Attorneys
Q. Where can I get legal advice from an experienced construction law attorney and obtain more information?
A. To find a construction law attorney, you can usually contact the state bar association and ask for a referral.


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