Non Payment of Architectural Fees

Summary: What can an architect do when his client won't pay the final payment due?

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QUESTION: I am an architect who is having difficulty with the final payment of fees from a client in Riverside County. Can I file a 20-day lien notice and then a lien for the final fees due? I have been employed on this project for over a year.

Thanks,
Ted Powell



Answer: There are a lot of variables that will affect the answer to this question but I'll try to make some assumptions.

A 20-day preliminary notice was not required if your client was the sole property owner.

If your client was anyone other than the property owner, then lien rights would only exist for work provided after the date that is 20 days prior to the date on which you served the property owner with a preliminary notice.

The right to lien depends upon the status of the project. Has construction begun? If not, you might still be able to record a design professional's lien.

If construction has begun, is the project completed? If not, then an immediately recorded lien will be timely.

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.



The information in this article is based upon California law and is provided for general information, only. The information provided illustrates laws and legal principals in general.

Any information or analysis presented in this article is intended solely to educate the reader on general issues. A comprehensive review of facts, documents, and applicable laws is always required before any attorney can competently provide any legal advice regarding any particular situation.

In short: Please do not rely on any part of this article when analyzing any specific situation affecting you or your business.