Contractors Board Issues Advice On Mechanic's Liens Free Brochure Available
SACRAMENTO — Homeowners in the Central Valley learned first-hand how a mechanic's lien can turn a simple roofing project into a complex legal matter. A local long-time roofing company had been conducting business as usual when in 2002 the roofer's material suppliers claimed they had not been receiving payments from the roofer. Although the homeowners had paid the roofing contractor for the labor and materials, state law permits the materials supplier to file mechanic's liens on the homeowner's property when materials aren't paid for.
Some of the homeowners were confused when they learned of the mechanic's liens because they were unaware of the risks. A mechanic's lien is a "hold" against the property that, if unpaid, could result in foreclosure on the property, double payment for the project, or a cloud on the title of the property.
The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) has produced a free publication, A Homeowner's Guide to Preventing Mechanic's Liens that can help homeowners protect their home and avoid similar problems. The brochure is available on CSLB's Web site, www.cslb.ca.gov or by calling (800) 321-CSLB.
Preventing Mechanic's Liens explains the steps homeowners should take to protect themselves against unwarranted liens, how to prevent liens, and what to do when a lien is filed.
Some of the ways that homeowners can protect themselves include:
- Download a free copy of "Preventing Mechanic's Liens" at www.cslb.ca.gov or call (800) 321-CSLB.
- Hire only licensed contractors.
- Insist that the prime contractor hires only licensed subcontractors.
- Avoid contractors who have a history of litigation.
- Get a list of the subcontractors, laborers, and materials suppliers to be used on your project and keep track of the dates their work is done and materials delivered.
- Make checks payable to both the contractor and the supplier or subcontractor.
- Get lien releases. Download release forms from CSLB's Web site at www.cslb.ca.gov.
- Ask suppliers and workers about the payment history of the prime contractor.
The Contractors State License Board, which operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs, licenses 278,000 contractors in California and investigates 25,000 complaints against licensed and unlicensed contractors annually.
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