BMW Needs To File A Lien Against A Vessel In California. Who Has Done This?

Mrleft8

Super Anarchist
24,535
3,048
Suwanee River
Another option would be to make a legal purchase proposal to the owner, for the services rendered fee, and get the sale locked up in court so that she can't sell until the fee is paid. A contract is a contract, after all, verbal, or written.

 That would probably cost you more in lawyers fees than worth it, but.....

 
How is the boat registered?  State ( w/title) or USCG documented?  That should guide on way to place lien. 
Is it listed w/Broker?  May want to have a word with them just to “advise” about the situation. 
The boat is not documented and if information about placing a lien on a state registered boat was readily available, I wouldn't have started this thread.

 

Mrleft8

Super Anarchist
24,535
3,048
Suwanee River
This is precisely what a lien does.
Yes, but different. Typically a lien is used in cases where there is a bank loan involved. A good faith purchase proposal can be a cash deal. (I'm not a real estate, or banking genius, just relating past personal 2nd hand experience)

 

Sea warrior

Super Anarchist
2,899
559
Chicagoish
BTW- the harbormaster and neighboring liveaboard were made aware of this situation by the client, so any retribution taken by me would likely get me banned from the marina, besides being illegal. So that's a non-starter. And I've been in this business long enough to know that's not how a reputable service provider rolls anyway.
“Before you embark upon a journey of revenge, dig two graves”

Small claims court and suck it up are your only options imho 

 

Navig8tor

Super Anarchist
6,777
1,687
Liens are hellishly expensive, several companies I worked for in the States attached liens to vessels but it has to be worth doing and when the bill is north of 100k it may be worth it otherwise you can record and make any potential buyers nervous.

Googled this a CA Admiraly lawyer explaining the process; See the Bolded bits the bold is mine.

I am in no way connected to the lawyer or firm quoted -just wish to help disseminate good information.

Good luck.


Ask a Maritime Attorney: What are the steps to put a lien on a vessel?



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 David Weil
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August 26, 2021


 

Question:

Our building materials company is supplying a substantial amount of material for the renovation of a historic vessel, and the primary contractor has asked us to open a line of credit for him. We are very experienced with these type of jobs on real estate projects but it is our first project involving a boat. As security for the extension of credit, we want to protect our ability to lien the vessel if the contractor fails to pay. What steps do we need to take to ensure our future lien rights?

Answer









Maritime liens are a source of confusion for boat owners and lenders alike, and as such we have spent a lot of time in this column over the years talking about maritime liens. Our reader presented an interesting question because it provides an opportunity to compare maritime liens to construction liens.

A lien is a financial tool that provides security for a debt. The debt often arises from work performed on some type of property, but it may be related to almost any obligation (many of our readers, for example, may be familiar with IRS liens).

A lien – any lien – may be understood by asking two fundamental questions: How is the lien perfected, and how is the lien enforced? The “perfecting” of a lien is the process of converting a claim for an unpaid obligation into a legal right against a piece of property. The “enforcement” of a lien is the process of converting that legal right against a piece of property into a payment to satisfy the obligation.

A contractor who provides labor and materials for a building in California must follow a clear set of rules to perfect and enforce a lien against that building. Pursuant to California Civil Code sec. 3143 and 3144, the contractor must first record a Notice of Claim of Lien with the County Recorder’s office, and then he must file a lawsuit to enforce the lien within 90 days after the lien is recorded. The procedure is clear and unambiguous, but there is no similar procedure for maritime liens.

A famous legal scholar once wrote, when comparing maritime liens to other types of liens, that “a lien is a lien is a lien, but a maritime lien is not.”  His point was that you should disregard most of what you know about liens when you enter the world of maritime liens.

Let’s start with the lien recording process. As noted above, a lien must be recorded for a real estate construction project prior to the enforcement of the lien through the filing of a lawsuit within 90 days after the lien is recorded. Conversely, there is no recording requirement for maritime liens and there is no time limit that ties lien recording to the filing of a lawsuit.
A Notice of Claim of Lien may be recorded against a vessel’s title by filing the appropriate paperwork with the US Coast Guard’s National Vessel Documentation Center (“NVDC”).  But the recording of a lien against a boat is optional.  Recording has no effect on the validity of the lien or the underlying claim, and recording is not necessary prior to taking steps to enforce the lien.

A claimant does not “lien the vessel.” A maritime lien is instantly perfected without recording it anywhere, assuming that the services were provided at the request of the owner or owner’s representative, and assuming that the nature of the services will give rise to a maritime lien (the services must basically provide some kind of benefit to the vessel).

Recording a Notice of Claim of Lien with the NVDC has no legal effect on the rights of the claimant or on the rights of the vessel owner. Recording the claim only (1) clouds the title, which may encourage payment by the vessel owner if the vessel is ever listed or offered for sale; and (2) Notifies the vessel owner and the rest of the world that you might have a lien. I say “might” have a lien, because the NVDC will accept virtually anything for recording, so long as the claim includes a notarized signature and a statement under penalty of perjury that the claim is being submitted for recording in good faith. The NVDC makes no determination regarding the validity of the claim. The validity must be tested in court.

Speaking of going to court, let’s take a look at the enforcement process.  As noted, the claim does not need to be recorded. Whether you opt to record or not, the procedure for enforcement is the same. A lawsuit is filed in Federal Court, seeking damages for breach of contract and a warrant for the “civil arrest” of the vessel.  Assuming the warrant is issued and the boat is seized by the United States Marshals, and custody is then transferred to a commercial custodian until the vessel is either sold at auction or released under a bond. The lawsuit then proceeds along the lines of any breach of contract lawsuit.

This is essentially a sneak attack – no notice is required to the vessel owner and the vessel is typically seized by the Marshals before the vessel owner is served with the Complaint.

We should point out in closing that this is a very expensive process.  Legal fees, court costs, and related custodial costs for the vessel may easily exceed $40,000.00 for the uncontested foreclosure of a maritime lien on a medium-sized yacht. The costs will increase significantly if the claim is contested.

I often close this column with a note that readers should discuss these issues with a qualified maritime attorney for information specific to their case. This is especially true when dealing with maritime liens. This is a very specialized area of law.

David Weil is licensed to practice law in the state of California and as such, some of the information provided in this column may not be applicable in a jurisdiction outside of California. Please note also that no two legal situations are alike, and it is impossible to provide accurate legal advice without knowing all the facts of a particular situation. Therefore, the information provided in this column should not be regarded as individual legal advice, and readers should not act upon this information without seeking the opinion of an attorney in their home state.

 

David Weil is the managing attorney at Weil & Associates (www.weilmaritime.com) in Seal Beach. He is certified as a Specialist in Admiralty and Maritime Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization and a “Proctor in Admiralty” Member of the Maritime Law Association of the United States, an adjunct professor of Admiralty Law, and former legal counsel to the California Yacht Brokers Association. If you have a maritime law question for Weil, he can be contacted at 562-799-5508, through his....


 

Ventucky Red

Super Anarchist
10,876
991
Yes, but different. Typically a lien is used in cases where there is a bank loan involved. A good faith purchase proposal can be a cash deal. (I'm not a real estate, or banking genius, just relating past personal 2nd hand experience)
There are all sorts of liens that can be placed against your real property; tax, mechanics, code enforcement, association fees, Mello-Roos, small claims, court judgment, and a few more.  

Early last year before the market took off we were looking at the worst house in the best neighborhood. And trust me, it was the worst. It was going to be a 'down to the studs" project, but that is not what scared us. There was a boatload of liens against it from the city (code violation fines and permits), county (fire department usage fine/violation - weird/tax lien), and property tax, a California Superior Court (restitution judgment) two mechanics liens, and another for Child Support.  What it boiled down to was we were going to own the house for a year before we could even think about doing anything to it while all the paperwork worked through the system.

Keep in mind, a property like this is not eligible for a conventional real-estate loan, more like "my cousin Tony knows a guy" along with the 'you're getting a deal 18.9% compounded hourly.."

The county liens were the easiest, give us the money and we're good. the Superior Court, little tricky, but the title company I worked with knew someone who knew someone on how this worked and how to navigate through... no, it is not that easy when judges' signatures are required, and of course, that was an extra $1,000.00. The city was the problem... After we satisfied the liens we need to apply for permits...  for Pete's sake, I needed a permit for the permit that was never a permit because there was a permit that superseded that permit that was never paid for because the permit for that expired and on and on and on.  But I will say, the person at the city permits office was awesome.  When I gave him the address, he started laughing.  Kind of reminded me of Milton from the movie Office Space and had this on his desk

From-My-Cold-Dead-Hands-Red-Stapler-PVC.jpg


 

Gouvernail

Lottsa people don’t know I’m famous
36,984
4,767
Austin Texas
I am not sure about your relationship with the community and the  other who support the community. 
On our  little puddle there are a few wonderful support mechanisms:

*When a long term owner changes service providers, most of us check to see why. In fact, those of us who have been around a few decades not only ask the customer but we check with our friends at the other business. 
Sometimes my suggestion  to the new customer is to work out the problem with his old service provider.  Sometimes, I rescue each side from the other. We can’t all always get along. 
*Pretty much everybody understands the service providers take care of the toys and the owners give the service providers enough money to live.  The rest of the community takes a dim view of deadbeat boat owners who fail to pay their fair share. 
* Marina owners love having reliable service providers. They love to refer tenants to reliable service providers. When one of the tenants fails to pay one of the marina’s go to providers, it pisses off the marina owner. 
* People make handling mistakes, the most likely person to hurt your boat, is the boater in the adjacent slip.  If your neighbor doesn’t pay his bills, odds are good he won’t pay up when he smashes into your boat. 
* in general, boat owners drive nicer vehicles, live in nicer houses, and have nicer boats than the service providers. People take a dim view of rich folks who rob from poor folks. That dim view is reinforced when the guy being ripped off is your trusted go to service fella. 
 

Then there is good old Sailing Anarchy. When Conrad Meub yanked his boat off my lot without paying his bill, I put an honest description of the entire interaction in a thread in Sailing Anarchy.  For the next five years, anyone who googled Conrad’s name got the thread as the number one result. 
      Conrad and I finally had a conversation because, when he asked Scott to take down the thread, Scott’s reply was, “You need to work that out with Gouvernail. I won’t take it down unless Gouvernail agrees or you demonstrate his story is untrue.”

    Conrad never paid his bill in full but I had sufficiently enjoyed jacking him around to be willing to let the few thousand dollars go. 
   I asked Scott to remove the thread. 
 

FYI: Today I googled his name and found Conrad donated to to the Mayor Pete campaign.  Conrad isn’t even on my shit list any more…. But I sincerely doubt any toy of his well ever again be allowed in my shop. 

 

Point Break

Super Anarchist
25,708
3,258
Long Beach, California
The reality of civil matters is unless it’s a significant amount of money you’re tossing your effort down a black hole. Small claims might work if you have any documentation of a work agreement…..even emails/texts might be sufficient in that setting as the burden of proof is much lower and pretty much up to the judge. 

 

longy

Overlord of Anarchy
6,055
806
San Diego
In SoCal - a friend of mine who was a high end/quality boat painter went thru the entire process. Got the lien, got all the paperwork. It was up to the sheriff's dept to seize the vessel for non-payment. They could not be bothered. Boat got sold. There are a few ways to dodge the lien. Walk away, have a beer

 

Ishmael

≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈
48,114
9,423
Fuctifino
In SoCal - a friend of mine who was a high end/quality boat painter went thru the entire process. Got the lien, got all the paperwork. It was up to the sheriff's dept to seize the vessel for non-payment. They could not be bothered. Boat got sold. There are a few ways to dodge the lien. Walk away, have a beer
I thought the lien followed the boat, but that's in Canada.

 

steele

Super Anarchist
1,663
189
Land of the locks
Sad to say, but I agree with Longy. It was not uncommon for people to not pay for my services. I was in a higher volume lower reimbursement business than you, but by the time I accounted for the time and energy it took to deal with the cheats it was better to just write if off and move on. I made sure I never dealt with them again, and took measures to inform my colleagues of their behavior.

If you are not willing to walk away one option might be to use a collection agency. This may not work because there is no signed contract, but it does make it someone else's problem and they are very persistent going after the debtor.

 

charisma94

Fucking Legend
1,274
254
Palma de Mallorca
Am not from SFB so have no idea of diver costs. But curious how much money are we talking about here?

No one likes to get stiffed and totally sucks. But there may be better ways to spend ones time. Move on and have a beer as previously suggested.

 
I thought the lien followed the boat, but that's in Canada.
It's the same here. Leins follow the boat. Mechanic's liens are used all the time to good effect. I just have never done it. And it seems like all those telling me to walk away haven't either. I came here looking for somebody with experience in this particular situation, not uninformed  opinions.

 
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Ishmael

≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈
48,114
9,423
Fuctifino
It's the same here. Leins follow the boat. Mechanic's liens are used all the time to good effect. I just have never done it. And it seems like all those telling me to walk away haven't either. I came here looking for somebody with experience in this particular situation, not uninformed  opinions.
Are you new here?

 

Go Left

Super Anarchist
4,602
223
Seattle
Are you new here?
I would approach the State Department of Labor and Industries (or whatever California calls it) and ask about filing a Mechanic's Lien.  Those are specifically for workers who have been denied compensation by employers.

 
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