Designers and California Mechanic's Liens

Can a Designer (not an Architect) file a mechanic's lien form for non-payment?


1. As a designer (I am not an architect), if the plans haven't yet been approved by either Health or Building, can I file a lien?

2. I am naming the client who owes me design fees (tenant). Do I also name the landlord (owner) of the shopping center?

3. Can the landlord sue me for listing his name on the lien?

Judy, Design Perspectives

ANSWER: Only licensed architects, engineers, surveyors, and contractors may record liens.

A party who records a lien without the right to do so may be subject to an abuse of process claim by any party affected by the lien.

The parties named on the lien are somewhat inconsequential--what matters is that the subject property's title will be clouded by the lien and will prevent/impact any sale, refinance, collateral agreement, etc.
The owner could sue a wrongful lien claimant on the basis of the lien affecting the subject property.

The fact that the owner's name is on the lien isn't harmful--it's the effect of the lien on the property (see above).

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.

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