We are writing to update you on amendments to the Mechanics’ Lien Law that became effective January 1st. Some published summaries and media reports have created confusion about the changes. We want to clear up the confusion.
The amendments change the definition of “claim of lien” by adding two new requirements. The requirements are intended to ensure the property owner is immediately notified of the lien.
First, before recording a lien, the claimant must serve the property owner with a notice entitled “NOTICE OF MECHANIC’S LIEN ATTENTION!” The amendments specify the contents of the required notice. Second, the lien presented to the County Recorder for recording must be accompanied by both a copy of the notice and an affidavit of proof of service – a sworn statement that the notice was served on the property owner. The amendments also specify the permitted methods by which the notice must be served. And the new law is not forgiving — failing to follow these requirements makes a claim of lien unenforceable as a matter of law.
In addition, the lien claimant must file a notice of pending action (sometimes called a lis pendens) within 20 days after filing the lawsuit to foreclose the lien. Before the amendments, filing a notice of pending action was optional – now it’s mandatory.