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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I am a California electrical contractor who performed work

Customer Question

I am a California electrical contractor who performed work for a general. We filed a pre lien on a job and we have been paid 100%. Do I have to legally sign a lien release?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.

Hello,

Recording of a preliminary notice with the county clerk is not required by law. Recording is optional. See Cal. Civil Code Section 8214 ("Each person who has served a preliminary notice may file the preliminary notice with the county recorder. [emphasis added]" Notice need only be served on the general, owner and construction lender, if any. If you recorded the preliminary notice, the act does not create a lien against the property. Consequently, there is nothing to release. However, if the general or owner wants a release, then there is no legal reason to refuse -- it's simply good will, given that you weren't required to record the preliminary notice, so the general and/or owner may be concerned about its effect on the property's title.

I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer -- otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is there a legal reason that says I HAVE to sign, besides good faith. The contractor is refusing to pay on another job. Which is not related.
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.

There's no reason. In fact, Cal. Civil Code Section 8214(e) provides:

  • The preliminary notice that a person may file pursuant to this section is for the limited purpose of facilitating the mailing of notice by the county recorder of recorded notices of completion and notices of cessation. The notice that is filed is not a recordable document and shall not be entered into those official records of the county which by law impart constructive notice. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the index maintained by the recorder of filed preliminary notices shall be separate and distinct from those indexes maintained by the county recorder of those official records of the county which by law impart constructive notice. The filing of a preliminary notice with the county recorder does not give rise to any actual or constructive notice with respect to any party of the existence or contents of a filed preliminary notice nor to any duty of inquiry on the part of any party as to the existence or contents of that notice.

As can be observed in subdivision (e), the preliminary notice is not a recordable document and does not operate to provide constructive notice. No duty is imposed on anyone. It's simply a means of facilitating other notice mailings by the county clerk related to the property.

You don't have to sign, and refusing to pay on another job because of your refusal to sign the release is a breach of contract (unless your contract with the general requires otherwise).

I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer -- otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.

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Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

I see that you have reviewed my answer, but that you have not provided a rating. Do you need any further clarification concerning my answer, or is everything satisfactory?

If you need further clarification, concerning this matter, please feel free to ask. If not, I would greatly appreciate a positive feedback rating for my answer -- otherwise I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.

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