A contractor who files a mechanics lien on a property generally only has 90 days to foreclose upon it from the time a contractor records the mechanics lien on the property. If a contractor fails to foreclose on the mechanics lien during that period, the mechanics lien expires. Often times, a mechanics lien is still recorded on a property long after they have expired and do not reappear until the property owner attempt to sell or refinance the property. Generally, when there is a cloud on title, a quiet title action is required to remove the cloud; however, with regards to mechanics liens, there is a simplified procedure to remove the cloud.
California Code Section 8460 addresses how to remove expired mechanics liens from your property. It allows a property owner to file a petition for an expedited process to remove the lien from the property. However, prior to filing the Petition, an owner must notify the contractor, subcontractor, or whoever placed the lien on the property of the lien and demand that the lien be released. If the subcontractor agrees to release the lien, it is important to record a release in order to clear title. If the person ignores the demand or refuses to release it, then a petition must be filed with the court.
A hearing date must be scheduled within 30 days after filing the Petition, and the party who recorded the mechanics lien must be served with notice of the Petition and the hearing. This method would much quicker than having to file a quiet title action. Further, it avoids a full civil lawsuit and allows a more expeditious method to remove the lien. If the contractor fails to remove the expired lien on his own, a judge will grant a judgment to remove the lien and award the property owner his attorneys’ fees and costs. for filing the action.
If you have questions regarding removing a cloud on title, please contact Anthony at 818-839-5220.