TITLE 14. LIEN
CHAPTER 8. DESIGN PROFESSIONALS' LIENS
California Civil Code Section 3081.1-3081.10
3081.1. For purposes of this chapter, "design professional" means
any certificated architect, registered professional engineer, or
licensed land surveyor who furnishes services pursuant to a written
contract with a landowner for the design, engineering, or planning of
a work of improvement.
Except as otherwise expressly provided, the definition in this
section does not apply to, or limit or expand the meaning of,
provisions of law other than this chapter.
3081.2. A design professional shall, from the date of recordation
pursuant to Section 3081.3, have a lien upon the real property for
which the work of improvement is planned to be constructed,
notwithstanding the absence of commencement of actual construction of
the planned work of improvement, if the landowner contracted for the
design professional's services and is also the owner of the real
property at the time of recordation of the lien. The lien of the
design professional shall be for the amount of the design
professional's fee for any services rendered prior to commencement of
the work of improvement or the reasonable value of those services,
whichever is less. The amount of the lien shall be reduced by the
amount of any deposit or prior payments, as specified by a written
contract entered into by the design professional and by the landowner
or his or her agent. However, no lien shall arise pursuant to this
chapter, and a design professional may not record a notice of lien
pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 3081.3, unless a building
permit or other governmental approval in furtherance of the work of
improvement has been obtained in connection with or utilizing the
services rendered by the design professional.
3081.3. In order for the design professional to be entitled to a
lien pursuant to Section 3081.2, all of the following shall occur:
(a) The landowner defaults in any payment required pursuant to the
terms of the written contract or refuses to pay upon the demand of
the design professional made in accordance with the written contract.
(b) Not less than 10 days prior to recordation pursuant to
subdivision (c), the design professional mails by first-class
registered or certified mail, postage prepaid, addressed to the
landowner, a written demand for payment specifying that a default has
occurred pursuant to the contract or agreement and the amount of the
(c) The design professional records, in the office of the county
recorder in the county in which the real property or some portion
thereof is located, a notice of lien which specifies that a lien is
created in favor of the named design professional, specifies the
amount thereof, identifies the current owner of record of the real
property, provides a legal description of the real propery to be
improved, and specifies the building permit or other governmental
approval for the work of improvement required as a condition of
recording the notice of lien by Section 3081.2.
3081.4. (a) Upon recordation of the notice of lien pursuant to
subdivision (c) of Section 3081.3, a lien is created in favor of the
named design professional.
(b) The lien created pursuant to subdivision (a) shall
automatically expire and be null and void and of no further force or
effect on the occurrence of either of the following:
(1) The commencement of the work of improvement for which the
design professional furnished services at the request of the
(2) The expiration of 90 days after recording the notice of lien,
unless the design professional files suit to enforce the lien within
90 days of recordation.
(c) In the event the landowner partially or fully satisfies the
lien of the design professional, the design professional shall
execute and record a document which evidences a partial or full
satisfaction and release of the lien, as the case may be.
3081.5. Any design professionals' lien perfected pursuant to this
chapter shall be enforced pursuant to the provisions contained in
Article 7 (commencing with Section 3143) of Chapter 2 of Title 15.
3081.6. This chapter does not affect the ability of a design
professional to obtain a mechanic's lien pursuant to Title 15
(commencing with Section 3082) of this part.
3081.7. A design professional shall record a notice of lien
pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 3081.3 no later than 90 days
after the design professional knows or has reason to know that the
landowner is not commencing the work of improvement.
3081.8. The lien of a design professional perfected pursuant to
this chapter shall not affect the ability of the design professional
to pursue other remedies.
3081.9. (a) No lien created by this chapter shall affect or take
priority over the interest of record of a purchaser, lessee, or
encumbrancer, if the interest of the purchaser, lessee, or
encumbrancer in the real property was duly recorded before
recordation of the design professionals' lien.
(b) No lien created by this chapter shall affect or take priority
over an encumbrance of a construction lender which funds the loan to
commence the work of improvement for which the design professional
furnished services at the request of the landowner.
3081.10. The design professionals' lien provided in this chapter
shall not apply to a work of improvement relating to a single-family
owner occupied residence where the construction costs are less than
one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) in value.
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