Is Changing the Dollar Amount of a Mechanic's Lien an Option

Is it possible to change the dollar amount of an existing mechanic's lien?

QUESTION: We have to make a change in a lien that we have already filled with the county recorders office, how would I go about that?

Do I need to file a new lien with the new amount and withdraw the one we have already filled?

Thank you for the help.

Heather G.
Electrical Services Corporation
Project Administrator


ANSWER: Unfortunately there is no simple answer to this question because one important rule related to mechanic's liens is that the lien cannot be recorded until all work by the claimant is completed under the subject contract.

On any project, it is possible that additional work might be provided by the claimant after the original scope of contracted work is completed, and if that is the case, the additional work would be deemed to have been performed under a separate contract, and a new, separate lien for the additional amounts would be appropriate (while not certain, a lien claimant should be entitled to record a separate lien for each separate contract, especially if the contracts are performed at separate times).

Alternatively, if the lien was prematurely recorded halfway through the claimant's agreed scope of work and now the claimant is merely adding to the lien after it has provided the remaining work under that agreement, the appropriate thing to do is to sit down with a construction attorney and review the contract and the events that have occurred to determine what the best course of action is.
The whole picture should be reviewed, including the total amount owed at this point, the amount of the recorded lien (and how much of the balance it covers), the likelihood of recovering payment from the client, and anything else that might affect the claimant's ability to be paid.

The risk is that altering the current lien could result in the claimant having no lien rights at all. The lien claimant probably will be able to effectively supplement the lien rights, however the best procedure for doing this will depend upon the specific circumstances.


Thank you to Dave Barnier for the above response. :) Mr. Barnier is a practicing litigation attorney in San Diego CA and can be reached at 619.682.4842.