2009 California Civil Code - Section 3143-3154 :: Article 7. Enforcement Of Lien

CIVIL CODE
SECTION 3143-3154

3143.  If the owner of property, or the owner of any interest
therein, sought to be charged with a claim of lien, or any original
contractor or subcontractor disputes the correctness or validity of
any claim of lien, he may record in the office of the county recorder
in which such claim of lien was recorded, either before or after the
commencement of an action to enforce such claim of lien, a bond
executed by a corporation authorized to issue surety bonds in the
State of California, in a penal sum equal to 1 1/2 times the amount
of the claim or 1 1/2 times the amount allocated in the claim of lien
to the parcel or parcels of real property sought to be released,
which bond shall be conditioned for the payment of any sum which the
claimant may recover on the claim together with his cost of suit in
the action, if he recovers therein. Upon the recording of such bond
the real property described in such bond is released from the lien
and from any action brought to foreclose such lien. The principal
upon such bond may be either the owner of the property or the owner
of any interest therein, or any original contractor, subcontractor,
or sub-subcontractor affected by such claim of lien.

3144.  (a) No lien provided for in this chapter binds any property
for a longer period of time than 90 days after the recording of the
claim of lien, unless within that time an action to foreclose the
lien is commenced in a proper court, except that, if credit is given
and notice of the fact and terms of such credit is recorded in the
office of the county recorder subsequent to the recording of such
claim of lien and prior to the expiration of such 90-day period, then
such lien continues in force until 90 days after the expiration of
such credit, but in no case longer than one year from the time of
completion of the work of improvement.
   (b) If the claimant fails to commence an action to foreclose the
lien within the time limitation provided in this section, the lien
automatically shall be null and void and of no further force and
effect.

3144.5.  Any person who obtains a lien release bond which is
recorded pursuant to Section 3143 shall give notice of the recording
to the lienholder by mailing a copy of the bond to the lienholder at
the address appearing on the lien. Service of the notice shall be by
certified or registered mail, return receipt requested. Failure to
give the notice provided by this section shall not affect the
validity of the lien release bond, but the statute of limitations on
any action on the bond shall be tolled until the notice is given. Any
action on the lien release bond shall be commenced by the claimant
within six months of the recording of the lien release bond.

3145.  As against any purchaser or encumbrancer for value and in
good faith whose rights are acquired subsequent to the expiration of
the 90-day period following the recording of the claim of lien, no
giving of credit or extension of the lien or of the time to enforce
the same shall be effective unless evidenced by a notice or agreement
recorded in the office of the county recorder prior to the
acquisition of the rights of such purchaser or encumbrancer.

3146.  After the filing of the complaint in the proper court, the
plaintiff may record in the office of the county recorder of the
county, or of the several counties in which the property is situated,
a notice of the pendency of such proceedings, as provided in Section
409 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Only from the time of recording
such notice shall a purchaser or encumbrancer of the property
affected thereby be deemed to have constructive notice of the
pendency of the action, and in that event only of its pendency
against parties designated by their real names.

3146.  After the filing of the complaint in the proper court to
foreclose on the mechanic's lien, the plaintiff shall record in the
office of the county recorder of the county, or of the several
counties in which the property is situated, a notice of the pendency
of the proceedings, as provided in Title 4.5 (commencing with Section
405) of Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure on or before 20 days
after the filing of the mechanic's lien foreclosure action. Only from
the time of recording that notice shall a purchaser or encumbrancer
of the property affected thereby be deemed to have constructive
notice of the pendency of the action, and in that event only of its
pendency against parties designated by their real names.

3147.  If the action to foreclose the lien is not brought to trial
within two years after the commencement thereof, the court may in its
discretion dismiss the same for want of prosecution.

3148.  In all cases the dismissal of an action to foreclose the lien
(unless it is expressly stated that the same is without prejudice)
or a judgment rendered therein that no lien exists shall be
equivalent to the cancellation and removal from the record of such
lien.

3149.  Any number of persons claiming liens on the same property may
join in the same action to foreclose their liens and when separate
actions are commenced the court may consolidate them.

3150.  In addition to any other costs allowed by law, the court in
an action to foreclose a lien must also allow as costs the money paid
for verifying and recording the lien, such costs to be allowed each
claimant whose lien is established, whether he be plaintiff or
defendant.

3151.  Whenever on the sale of the property subject to any liens
provided for in this chapter, under a judgment of foreclosure of such
lien, there is a deficiency of proceeds, judgment for the deficiency
may be entered against any party personally liable therefor in like
manner and with like effect as in an action for the foreclosure of a
mortgage.

3152.  Nothing contained in this title affects the right of a
claimant to maintain a personal action to recover a debt against the
person liable therefor either in a separate action or in the action
to foreclose the lien, nor any right the claimant may have to the
issuance of a writ of attachment or execution or to enforce a
judgment by other means. In an application for a writ of attachment,
the claimant shall refer to this section. A lien held by the claimant
under this chapter does not affect the right to procure a writ of
attachment. The judgment, if any, obtained by the claimant in a
personal action, or personal judgment obtained in a mechanic's lien
action, does not impair or merge a lien held by the claimant under
this chapter, but any money collected on the judgment shall be
credited on the amount of the lien.

3153.  In all cases where a claim of lien is recorded for labor,
services, equipment, or materials furnished to any contractor, he
shall defend any action brought thereon at his own expense, and
during the pendency of such action the owner may withhold from the
original contractor the amount of money for which the claim of lien
is recorded. In case of judgment in such action against the owner or
his property upon the lien, the owner shall be entitled to deduct
from any amount then or thereafter due from him to the original
contractor the amount of such judgment and costs. If the amount of
such judgment and costs exceeds the amount due from him to the
original contractor, or if he has settled with the original
contractor in full, he shall be entitled to recover back from the
original contractor, or the sureties on any bond given by him for the
faithful performance of his contract, any amount of such judgment
and costs in excess of the contract price, and for which the original
contractor was originally the party liable.

3154.  (a) At any time after the expiration of the time period
specified by Section 3144 with regard to the period during which
property is bound by a lien after recordation of a claim of lien,
where no action has been brought to enforce that lien, the owner of
the property or the owner of any interest therein may petition the
proper court for a decree to release the property from the lien.
   (b) The petition shall be verified and shall allege all of the
following:
   (1) The date of recordation of the claim of lien.
   (2) The legal description of the property affected by the claim of
lien.
   (3) That no action to foreclose the lien is pending, or that no
extension of credit has been recorded, and that the time period
during which suit can be brought to foreclose the lien has expired.
   (4) That the lien claimant is unable or unwilling to execute a
release of the lien or cannot with reasonable diligence be found.
   (5) That the owner of the property or interest in the property has
not filed for relief under any law governing bankruptcy, and that
there exists no other restraint to prevent the lien claimant from
filing to foreclose the lien. A certified copy of the claim of lien
shall be attached to the petition. The petition shall be deemed
controverted by the lien claimant.
   (c) Upon the filing of the petition, and before any further
proceedings are had, the clerk shall set a date for the hearing not
more than 30 days following the filing of the petition. The court may
continue the hearing beyond the 30-day period, but good cause shall
be shown for any continuance.
   (d) A copy of the petition and the notice setting the date for the
hearing shall be served upon the lien claimant at least 10 days
prior to the date set for hearing, in the manner in which a summons
is required to be served, or by certified or registered mail, postage
prepaid, return receipt requested, addressed to the lien claimant at
the claimant's address as shown in any of the following:
   (1) The preliminary 20-day notice served by the claimant pursuant
to Section 3097.
   (2) The records of the registrar of contractors.
   (3) The contract on which the lien is based.
   (4) The claim of lien itself.
   (e) When service is made by mail as provided in this section,
service is complete on the fifth day following the day of the deposit
of the mail. No decree shall issue in favor of the petitioner unless
the petitioner proves that service of the petition and the order
fixing the date for hearing was made in compliance with this
subdivision. The issue of compliance with this subdivision shall be
deemed controverted by the lien claimant.
   (f) In the event judgment is rendered in favor of the petitioner,
the decree shall indicate all of the following:
   (1) The date the lien was recorded.
   (2) The county and city, if any, in which the lien was recorded.
   (3) The book and page of the place in the official records where
the lien is recorded.
   (4) The legal description of the property affected. Upon the
recordation of a certified copy of the decree, the property described
in the decree shall be released from the lien.
   (g) The prevailing party shall be entitled to attorneys' fees not
to exceed two thousand dollars ($2,000).
   (h) Nothing in this section shall be construed to bar any other
cause of action or claim for relief by the owner of the property or
an interest in the property, nor shall a decree canceling a claimant'
s lien bar the lien claimant from bringing any other cause of action
or claim for relief, other than an action foreclosing the lien.
However, no other action or claim shall be joined with the claim for
relief established by this section.
   (i) Chapter 2.5 (commencing with Section 1141.10) of Title 3 of
Part 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure does not apply to causes
commenced pursuant to this section.


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