Mechanics' liens automatically become invalid if the claimant does not foreclose within 90 days of recording. However, the lien will still appear on the title until it is released in writing or by court order.
If the contractor does not release the lien upon request, the owner of the property may petition the court for a release order (also called expunging the lien). Cal. Civ. Code §§ 8480-8488. The court will award the prevailing party his or her reasonable attorneys' fees, so you may wish to hire an attorney to do this. Cal. Civ. Code § 8488(c).
If you choose to file this petition without an attorney, this guide outlines the steps, and includes sample forms and instructions.
There is no Judicial Council form for this procedure. Instead, the relevant documents must be typed on 28-line pleading paper. Customizable templates may be downloaded from these links:
Click here to download this guide with step-by-step instructions, including sample forms.
updated kf 8/2012