Mechanics Liens: Placing and Releasing Contractors Claims

Templates and Forms

A Mechanics’ Lien is an effective remedy for contractors, subcontractors, and others involved in the construction or improvement of real estate to resolve payment problems. If a service or materials provider records a Mechanics Lien against the real estate being improved, the owner cannot easily sell or refinance the property without first paying off the debt secured by the lien.

Related Guide
Petition to Release Mechanics Lien

A Mechanics Lien motivates the owner to make sure the contractors get paid, and is a prerequisite to filing a foreclosure action on the property. A claimant is defined by California Civil Code (C.C.) § 8004, § 8024, §§ 8400-8404.

Step by Step Guide


Determine if A Preliminary Notice is Required

According to C.C. § 8410, for most claimants who furnish labor, service, equipment, or material to a private work of improvement, service of a 20-day preliminary notice is a prerequisite to the enforcement of both the Mechanics Lien and stop payment notice rights. Preliminary Notices must be served to the owner, general contractor, and lender. However, some claimants including some laborers, need not give prior notice per C.C. § 8200 (e). A customizable template may be downloaded from this link:


Complete the Claim for Mechanics Lien and Required Notice of Lien

Mechanics Lien forms must be in a format that the Sacramento County Clerk/Recorder’s Office will accept. A customizable template may be downloaded from this link:

Sample filled-in forms with instructions are available at the end of this Guide.


Serve the Claim for Mechanics Lien and Complete the Proof of Service Affidavit

Service of the claim of mechanics lien must be completed before the lien claim is recorded. C.C. §8416 (a)(7) requires the recorded original claim for mechanics lien to contain a signed affidavit of proof of service.


Record the Mechanics Lien, Required Notice of Lien, and Proof of Service Affidavit at the Recorder’s Office

The Recorder’s Office charges a recording fee (currently $20/first page plus $3 for additional pages in Sacramento). Current fees are available on the County Clerk/Recorder’s website at Fee Schedule.

Sacramento County Recorder’s Office
3636 American River Drive, Ste. 110
Sacramento, CA 95864
(916) 874-6334

For More Information

On the Web:

American Subcontractors Association of California
The American Subcontractors Association of California provides information on California Lien Laws.

Contractors State License Board
Informational pamphlet from the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Contractors State License Board: A Homeowner’s Guide to Preventing Mechanics Liens.

At the Law Library:

California Mechanics Lien Law and Construction Industry Practice KFC229 .M31
California Mechanics Lien Law provides in-depth treatment of the basic law and procedure relating to works of improvement, from the standpoint of the contractor.
Electronic Access: On the Law Library’s computers, using Lexis Advance.

California Mechanics Liens and Related Construction Remedies KFC229 .C3

This CEB practice guide discusses Mechanics Liens, stop notices, and bond remedies.
Electronic Access: On the Law Library’s computers, using OnLaw.

Handling Mechanics Liens and Related Remedies (Private Works) KFC 229 .H86
This CEB Action Guide describes the rights and remedies, including Mechanics Liens, stop notices, and bonds of the principal parties involved in a private work of improvement.
Electronic Access: On the Law Library’s computers, using OnLaw.


Mechanics Lien

Release of Mechanics Lien

Note: Release of Mechanics Lien Page 2, notary acknowledgement, is not reproduced.

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