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RE: I Got Th' "Eagle Done Flew" Blues!

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Gerald -

You've asked a great question for which I've never received a good answer.
And don't forget, if you screw this up, you could be liable for filing a
faulty lien. When I was doing research into liens, I decided that the best
thing to do to ensure I complied with the 20 day provision is to send out
the preliminary notice as soon as I got a signed proposal back and/or a
written notice to proceed from my client. You can't send it out too early,
but you certainly can send it out too late. I know that filing the 20 day
notice might wrankle (is that a word? It sounds right) some of my clients,
but I have to decide whether I do or whether I don't from the beginning.

Here's my suggestion. If you're really interested in having lien rights,
first do your homework. Either go to a seminar or read a book. If you don't
want to do that, I suggest hiring a firm to execute them for you. What I try
to do, other than the pay when/if paid clause I use, is to keep my
outstanding balance under $5,000 (small claims) with each project. If I get
a job that I really want to do with someone I haven't built financial trust
with, then I would first discuss the fact that I intend to protect my lien
rights and then hire a firm to manage that for me. Of course, my "zeroth"
suggestion is to consult an attorney before making any legal decisions
because I'm not one. I've just had a lot of experience (and have the scars
to prove it) of surviving being the creditor on five bankruptcies (including
Orange County) in the early 90s.


T. William (Bill) Allen, S.E. (CA #2607)	
Consulting Structural Engineers	
V (949) 248-8588	 .	 F (949) 209-2509	

-----Original Message-----
From: Gerard Madden, SE [mailto:gmadden(--nospam--at)] 
Sent: Thursday, March 17, 2005 9:49 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: I Got Th' "Eagle Done Flew" Blues!

Forgot to ask, what does "within 20 days of starting work mean"... you mean
shovel to dirt or pencil to paper? In my case, my contract was with the
architect, a very good (but slower paying) client, and the homeowner was a
shitbag (I met him a couple of times) and I completely believe that he
hadn't paid my architect (we are both small time so I know he wasn't trying
to stiff his structural engineer)... but if the design takes 3 weeks to do
the job, are you saying we need to file a lien for every project just in
case? I guess what is confusing me is the "starting work" point. In my
example, the owner basically scrapped the job because he got in over his
head, so the "starting point" for construction never occurred.



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