Note: The following table is meant to give the reader a general description of the necessary steps to perfect a claim.

Legal advice is necessary to apply these legal concepts to your particular situation. The Reader should obtain competent legal advice before relying on the Articles.




Preliminary notice (Private jobs and California public works)

Give notice to owner, general contractor, and construction lender not later than 20 days after claimant's first labor or materials. (On California public work, notice is given to contractor and public agency). Suggest: Notice via certified mail, return receipt requested. Contractor need not give notice to other than Lender

Civil Code Section 8200, e. seq.

What is Work of Improvement?

Construction, alteration, repair, demolition or removal, seeding, sodding, planting, filling, leveling, or grading

CC 8050

Lien Claim

(by general contractor)

File with County Recorder within 60 days (if contractor) or 30 days (if other) after date of recordation of notice of completion or cessation/or within 90 days after completion (or 60 days cessation) whichever period expires first. Copy to Owner within 30 days of recording.

CC 8412, 8414

Notice to Surety on Payment Bond

Certified mail to surety and bond principal within fifteen (15) days after a notice of completion is recorded, or seventy-five (75) days after completion, if no notice of completion is recorded.

CC 8609, 8610

Federal public works preliminary notice

Registered mail to contractor within 90 days from last labor or materials.

Miller Act

40 U.S.C. 270b

Bonded Stop Notice (private work)

Certified mail to construction lender prior to expiration of lien recording period.

CC 8680, e.seq.

Stop notice on California public work

Certified mail to public agency within 30 days after recordation of notice of completion (or acceptance or cessation). If no notice of completion or cessation, serve within 90 days after completion or cessation.

CC 8580, 8530, 9100, 8508

* Complaint to foreclose lien

File in proper court within 90 days after date of recordation of lien claim.


CC 8424

Deadline for making a claim on payment bond on a private

At least six months but longer than that depends on the bond. Assume six months.

CC 8609, 8610

Complaint to enforce bonded stop notice (private work)

File in proper court after 10 days from service of stop notice and within 90 days from expiration of lien recording period. (May be combined with action to foreclose lien)

CC 8550

Complaint on stop notice

(public work)

File in proper court earlier of 30 days after notice of completion or ninety days after cessation or completion if no notice recorded

CC 9502

Notice of Proceedings (on Stop notice, private or public work)

Serve within 5 days after filing action, on same persons and in same manner as provided for the stop notice.


CC 9502

Complaint on Payment Bond

(California public work)

File in proper court within 6 months after the period within which stop notices must be filed as per CC 9502 (May be combined with action on stop notice, supra)

CC 9558

Complaint on Payment Bond

(federal work)

File in proper court after 90 days from claimant's last labor or materials and within 1 year therefrom. (Capehart—within 1 year from prime contractor's last work.)

Miller Act

40 U.S.C 270b

Capehart Act

42 U.S.C 1594

Complaint on Contractor's License Bond or Deposit

File in proper court within 2 years after expiration of license period.

B & P 7071.11

Method to Bond around Lien Claim

Owner or contractor may release property from lien by recording a release bond in an amount equal to at least 125% of the lien claim. Statute of limitations for action on the bond tolled until notice given to claimant.

CC 8424