by Bill Reid CGR, President Just because you paid your contractor doesn`t mean you have paid for the project.  This will raise your eyebrows.  Many homeowners become scared whe they hear the word lien.  The CA Preliminary lien law, emphasis preliminary, is intended to protect home owners and suppliers on construction projects.  With out getting into all the legalize here is how it works for you.  Lets say you hire a remodeling contractor to build an addition on to your home.  Of course there will be material suppliers and subcontractors that will perform work on your project.  Once the material is delivered or work started by a trade contractor they now have an interest in your property.  In order for them to protect their interest and insure they get paid by the contractor they are required to file a Preliminary Lien Notice by sending a copy via registered mail to the homeowner, contractor and lender (if applies).  Keep in mind if you have not received a notice via registered mail then the supplier or subcontractor has no lien rights on your property.  This now alerts you the homeowner who has an interest in your property.  When your contractor comes knocking for their next progress payment simply ask for an Unconditional Lien Release from the supplier or subcontractor that sent you the notice.  The contractor can not obtain this release until they have paid the supplier or sub-contractor.  Hint 1: Be aware of notices that say “Conditional Lien Release”  this means that when the payment to the supplier clears the bank they release will automatically take effect.  This could be manipulated by an unsavory contractor.  Hint 2: When hiring a single trade contractor or a project that is very quick be careful not to pay to quickly.  Roofing is a good example.  A roof can be torn off and reinstalled in just a few days.  If you pay the contractor immediately the next day you may get a Preliminary Notice from the roofing material supplier.  Having paid the contractor in full you may end up paying for the material twice in order to relieve them of their lien rights.  Hint 3:  It is state law that your contractor provide you an explanation of the CA Preliminary Lien Law in writing.  There are many details in proper filing of these notices.  Visit the California State License Board for more information.
About the author
Leave Comment