California
Bond or Lien Claim Public Work

Warning: All information contained within this data base is subject to change at any time by the various states and is not guaranteed in any way by FWM Software. Nor does FWM Software assume any liability or responsibility for it's content. Please use in conjunction with advice from your attorney.

Note: This information is limited in scope and applies only to this document. Please see the general information, all forms memo, and the general information memo for this type of document, for additional information.

Document Title: 90 Day Public Works Lien and Claim on Payment Bond.

Scope: State of California, Public Works.

Time Constraints: Claims must be filed depending on the type of entity you represent:

Prohibitions: There are several prohibitions on seeking protection under the California Mechanic’s Lien statutes:

  1. What construction project participants are not protected by the lien law? An unlicensed contractor cannot use the mechanic’s lien remedy.  A person not in contractual relations with any of the major parties (owner, prime contractor, subcontractor) or their agents cannot use the mechanic’s lien remedy.  Participants in construction projects for public entities, including the United States, must use other remedies, as public property is not subject to lien.
  2. What costs or damages are typically not allowed in a lien claim?  Delay damages and attorney fees.  Also, a mechanic's lien claim cannot be for more than the contract price or the fair value of the work or materials (whichever is less).

Both Cases, Preliminary Notice: You must have served A Preliminary Notice on all required parties before you can establish lien rights in the State of California. Failure to do so negates your lien rights. See the State of California memo on Preliminary Notices, Public Works, for more information.

However, even if you cannot make a lien claim for failure to service a Preliminary Notice, you may make claim against the Payment Bond under certain conditions (see below).

Sub-Contractor or Supplier: If you have not been paid in full, you must serve your 90 Day Public Works Lien and Claim on Payment Bond, and serve Stop Notices, if needed, on the completion, or cessation, of your work of improvement or supplying of material or services for improvement, up to 90 days after the cessation or completion of the entire work if no Notice of Completion, or Notice of Cessation, has been filed. Serve a copy of said notice on the public entities and, if they exist, the general contractors, lenders and sureties. If a Notice of Completion, or Notice of Cessation, has been filed, you must file your documents within 30 days of the recording of the Notice of Completion.

Contractor: Same as above, but you must record Your Mechanic’s Lien with the county recorder's office, and serve Stop Notices, if needed, with 60 days, inclusive, of the completion, or cessation, of your work of improvement.

Both Cases, Perfection: Lien Claim: To perfect your Lien Claim, you must file suit to enforce the lien within 90 days of serving the 90 Day Preliminary Bond Notice.

Both Cases, Stop Notice: To enforce your Stop Notice, and collect any fees held in trust for your customer, file suit anytime from 10 days after the date of the service of your Stop Notice on either the public entities or sureties, but no later the same time period for enforcing your 90 Day Public Works Preliminary Bond Notice.

Both Cases, Payment Bond: Where a Payment Bond has been provided by a surety, you may file a claim against the payment bond to demand payment. Whether you have served a preliminary notice on the required parties or not, you may still make demand upon the surety providing the payment bond either within 15 days of the filing of the Notice of completion or within 75 days after the work of improvement has been completed but no Notice of Completion has been filed. Remember, a payment bond may be insufficient to settle your claim, but most California Public Works will have them. Get the information.

The usual remedy is to file to enforce all claims in one suit (see below, Procedures). In any case, we strongly recommend that your attorney handle the enforcement actions to perfect your lien claims.

Information Requirements: Program information and information for Exhibits A-D and any additional costs as to legal fees, court costs and interest charges (don't pass these up. Estimate if necessary. In the case of Stop Notices and Bond Claims, the public entities and sureties will reserve only the amount for which you make claim), and the county of the state where the recording will be made.

Form Types: 90 Day Public Works Lien and Claim on Payment Bond, Exhibit's A-D, if needed, Stop Notice, if needed, Claim Against Payment Bond and Claim Against Funds Held in Trust, if needed, and Request for Notice of Completion, Acceptance or Cessation, if needed (see below).

Procedures: Prepare your documents using the required information. Serve the 90 Day Public Works Lien And Claim on Payment Bond and Stop Notices immediately on the public entities and general contractors. Serve a further copy with the Claim Against Payment Bond and Claim Against Fund Held in Trust notice on the sureties, if known (All California Public Works in excess of $25,000 are statutorily required to be bonded).

Special Document: California requires that if the public entities are served with a Request for Notice of Completion, Acceptance or Cessation for a public work, along with a $2.00 filing fee, you are entitled to receive a copy of said document when it is filed.

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