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Mechanic’s Liens

The Mechanics’ Lien law provides special protection to contractors, subcontractors, laborers and suppliers who furnish labor or materials to repair, remodel or build your home.

If any of these people are not paid for the services or materials they have provided, your home may be subject to a mechanics’ lien and eventual sale in a legal proceeding to enforce the lien. This result can occur even when the homeowner has made full payment for the work of improvement.

The mechanics’ lien is a right that a state gives to workers and suppliers to record a lien and ensure payment. This lien may be recorded where the property owner has paid the contractor in full and the contractor then fails to pay the subcontractors, suppliers, or laborers. Thus, in the worst case, a homeowner may actually end up paying twice for the same work.

The theory is that the value of the property upon which the labor or materials have been bestowed has been increased by virtue of these efforts and the homeowner who has reaped this benefit is required in return to act as the ultimate guarantor of full payment to the persons responsible for this increase in value. In practice, a homeowner faced with a valid mechanics’ lien may be compelled to pay the lien claimant and then pursue conventional legal remedies against the contractor or subcontractor who initially failed to pay the lien claimant but who himself was paid by the homeowner. Another justification for this result relates to the relative financial strengths of the parties to a work of improvement. The law views the property owner as being in a better situation to absorb the financial setback occasioned by having to pay the amount of a valid mechanics’ lien, as opposed to a laborer or material man who is viewed as being less able to absorb the financial burdens occasioned by not being paid for services or materials provided in connection with a work of improvement.

The best protection against these claims is for the homeowner to employ reputable firms with sufficient experience and capital and/or require completion and payment bonding of the construction work. The issuance of checks payable jointly to the contractor, material men and suppliers is another protective measure, as is the careful disbursement of funds in phases based upon the percentage of completion of the project at a given point in the construction process. The protection offered by mechanics’ lien releases can also be helpful.

Even if a mechanics’ lien is recorded against your property you may be able to resolve the problem without further payment to the lien claimant. This possibility exists where the proper procedure for establishing the lien was not followed. While it is true that persons who have provided labor, services, or materials to a job site may record mechanics’ liens, each is required to strictly adhere to a well-established procedure in order to create a valid mechanics’ lien.

Needless to say, this is one area of the law that is very complex, thus it may be worthwhile to consult an attorney if you become aware that a mechanics’ lien has been recorded against your property. In the event you discover that a lien has been recorded but no effort has been made to enforce the lien, a title company may decide to ignore the lien. However, be prepared to be presented with a positive plan to eliminate the title problems created by this type of lien. This may be accomplished by means of a recorded mechanics’ lien release from the person who created the lien, or other measures acceptable to the title company.

As in all areas of the real estate field, the best advice is to investigate the quality, integrity, and business reputation of the firm with whom you are dealing. Once you are satisfied you are dealing with a reputable company and before you begin your construction project, discuss your concerns about possible mechanics’ lien problems and work out, in advance, a method of ensuring that they will not occur.

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Michael Call
Michael Call Realty

18682 Beach Blvd. #165
Huntington Beach, CA 92663
Phone: 714-791-1102
Email: onecall4all1@verizon.net
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"It is my pleasure to write this letter of recommendation for our realtor Mr. Michael Call. Michael was instrumental in helping us purchase a new home in Huntington Beach, California. Michael is from Huntington Beach and he possesses extensive knowledge of the neighborhoods and schools in Huntington Beach as well as in many of the surrounding cities. Having come from Phoenix Arizona, we had no idea which neighborhood would work best for our family, but Michael took the time to show us several great family neighborhoods with amazing schools. He also showed us many homes in these areas, but never rushed us. Instead he carefully listened to what we liked and disliked from each of those homes until he was able to find us the perfect home. In fact, it was Michael’s history as a great realtor in Huntington Beach that helped us locate our new home. Michael is well organized, creative, and he is constantly looking for ways to help his clients find the home of their dreams. With all of his real estate skills and knowledge however, Michael’s greatest assets are that he is patient, thoughtful, a great listener, and an advocate for his clients. He is the only realtor that I have worked with who took the time to call the home warranty company when our furnace stopped working and he personally saw to it that we were reimbursed for repairing the furnace. Michael has an excellent understanding of real estate practices in California. Michael has impeccable character; he is intelligent, honest and extremely hard working. It is my opinion that Michael Call is a person who is very proactive, and he has the ability to help you find and purchase an amazing home. It has been a wonderful experience to work with Michael Call and I will not hesitate to recommend him to others looking for a new home in Southern California." Cean R. Colcord Ph. D.
"Michael Call did an excellent job selling our home. He came to look at the home before it went on market, made recommendations which we followed through with and within that week of listing we had an offer. Once the process began, Michael was very diligent in tracking all aspects of the sale. He made sure all items got into escrow, let us know when items where due and followed up quickly on any questions or requests that were made. He continually checked in with us to make sure the process was going smoothly. Michael always responded to any email and/or voice mail that was sent very quickly. We highly recommended using Michael for your home purchase or sale, knowing he will do an excellent job for you." Danielle & Greg Winchell
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18682 Beach Blvd. #165 - Huntington Beach, CA 92648
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