California Mechanics’ Lien Law, the Use of Stop Payment Notices, & Bond Claims

JOIN us on Wednesday, March 11, 2015, from California Mechanics’ Lien Law, the Use of Stop Payment Notices, & Bond Claims,” an informative and exciting seminar geared towards contractors, material suppliers, developers, engineers, owners, design & real estate professionals with exposure to construction law issues and dispute resolution.  We will explore the requirements for establishing and enforcing statutory mechanics’ lien rights, stop payment notice rights, and bond claims in California.  Sign up by clicking HERE (if you don’t already have a account, you will have to register for one in order to sign up for the seminar).

Key topics will include:

• Procedural requirements and possible claimants for Mechanics’ Liens and Stop Payment Notices

• Statutory time limits for Mechanics’ Liens, Stop Payment Notices and payment bonds

• Procedural requirements for payment and performance bond claims

• Priorities for recovery of Mechanics’ Liens and Stop Payment Notices

• Lien releases and Release bonds


Christopher Shenfield, Attorney, 

Mathew Zumstein, Attorney,

Attendees will have time to ask attorneys questions.

The seminar will be complimentary and will include food, snacks and beverages.  Also, there will be networking prior to the presentations.  

An event of the Real Estate Law & Practice Seminars: SF Peninsula/South Bay, sponsored and hosted by the law firms of Shenfield & Associates and Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley.   Posted 2/18/2015

Real Estate Contracts, Liens; & Food, Too! Wed, Dec 3, 2014, 5:30-7:00p, Redwood City

construction and real estate SMALL

Real Estate Law & Practice Seminars: SF Peninsula

Join me at For Owners, Investors, Professionals–Real Estate Contracts, Liens & Food, Too!  This free real estate law seminar and networking event will be held on Wednesday, December 3, 2014, at 5:30p-7:00p, at the offices of Ropers Majeski, 1001 Marshall St #500, Redwood City, 94063.

TO SIGNUP, click HERE ( or HERE (Eventbrite)


MEET a pair of legal experts to learn about residential and commercial real estate and construction law.  Real estate investors, contractors, homeowners, businesses and real estate professionals encounter these issues; so come and learn how to plan for and communicate about these.

Christopher Shenfield, will present “Top Ten Tips That Every Investor Needs To Know About When Negotiating Commercial Real Estate Contracts,” including contract forms, negotiation techniques, due diligence, tenant issues, environmental review, and contingency issues.  And you’ll receive a common yet valuable list of these to use.  By learning how to spot the key issues when purchasing or selling commercial properties, attendees will better develop contracts and save lots of money in legal documents.   Want to learn if your commercial real estate contract clauses will have claws?

Mathew Zumstein, Attorney, will present “Construction Liens for the Real Estate Investor and Professional: A Primer,” including an overview of what mechanics liens do, why they’re important, who they benefit (and why), key deadlines, and distinguishing each of the players in a construction project—owners, general contractors, subcontractors and material suppliers—as it pertains to the basics of mechanics liens.  By understanding the basics of the lien laws, attendees will be in a position to better understand how to protect their interests before undertaking a construction work, whether a minor remodel or a major project.

Attendees will have time to ask attorneys questions.

This seminar is complimentary and will include food and snacks.  Also, networking prior to the seminar.   Additionally, we encourage attendees to bring nutritious, non-perishable food items to donate to Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties (

Top 10 Issues That Every Business Needs to Know About When Leasing Office Space


1. Negotiate Before Signing.  Try to gain every concession possible from the landlord before signing the lease. Once the lease is signed, the tenant and the landlord often have opposite goals.

 2. Know who your friends are.  Most brokers represent landlords.  They get a commission only when the lease is signed.  Proceed with caution, or better yet, hire your own broker to represent you.

3. Rent. Is the rent per square foot standard in the area?  How often does the rent increase?  Rent increases compound annually, so even 3% is a 16% increase at the end of 5 years.

4. Space.  Understand the actual amount of space that you’ll be getting.  There are a host of square foot measurement techniques that are vastly different, the most common being rentable square feet, usable square feet and gross square feet.  Say a business is currently renting 1,700 square feet in an office building and decides it needs more space.  It enters into a contract to lease 2,500 square feet (a 75% increase) in a new office building (with a similar percentage increase in the rent).  Yet it could end up with only slightly more usable square feet than when it was leasing the 1,700 square feet.  The square footage of many offices already include a common area factor which is the pro rata share of the main lobby, elevator shafts, janitor’s closet, and other similar space.  A common area factor more than 20% means that a 2,500 square foot office space may only result in less than 2,000 usable square feet.

5. Understand the actual cost.  When leasing office spaces, many leases are triple net.  This means the tenant will pay for taxes, insurance and maintenance not only on the tenant’s space, but also on the tenant’s pro rata share of the common area.  Some, but not all, office leases exclude certain items from being included in those operating expenses, such as capital replacements, structural repairs, etc.  Understand the actual cost of the lease.

Office Building 6. Office Build-Out Issues.  Negotiate for temporary rent abatement if building out the space.  There should be penalties in the construction contract so that the contractor has to pay the tenant’s rent if he doesn’t finish on time.  If the landlord does the build-out, proceed carefully.

 7. Not Reviewing any Restrictions or Limitations with regard to the Parking.  Not only is it important to review the current parking ratio for the building, but also assess whether there will be enough parking in the future years of the lease term, and what type of parking space users may be in the building.  The current parking ratio is determined simply by reviewing the total number of parking spaces not including any handicapped spaces and dividing this by the gross square footage of the building.  While the marketing or sale flyers for the building will typically state the parking ratio as X spaces per thousand square feet, it is important to fully review the underlying documents to verify that the parking ratio is correct.   To the extent that there are no restrictions on uses in the building, then it is possible that some heavy parking users (i.e. a telephone calling center, a large medical office or a sit-down restaurant) may lease space in the building and there may not be sufficient parking spaces for all owners in the building

8. Subordination Clauses.  Always ask the landlord for a waiver of such clauses.

9. Assignment Clauses.  A typical landlord wants to control who occupies his or her space and will insert clauses that virtually destroy a business’ ability to sell her/his business.  Virtually all standard form leases contain provisions which keep the original tenant on the hook for the rent through the expiration of the term, including all option periods. Tread carefully, and negotiate, negotiate.

10. Failing to Hire the Right Professionals.  Avoid mistakes by working with an attorney, accountant and broker who really understand the legal issues that small businesses face when leasing.