Citrus Heights (CBS13) — Homeowner Justin Cantu tried to refinance his house to pay down his student loans but said no bank would work with him over a lien for PG&E work.
“How is this possible? When did this happen?” Cantu said.
Contractor Teichert Pipelines filed the lien saying PG&E owes them $112,000 for work done at or in front of 29 addresses on Cantu’s street. Because Cantu’s address was listed, he said he couldn’t get a loan.
“It was title company after title company saying ‘sorry we’re unable to help you’ without paying off this entire lien,” Cantu said.
Construction law attorney Ken Grossbart said mechanics liens are a legal way to stake a claim on the property where the work happened.
“He can’t get his refi without clearing the title. So he’s got a problem,” Grossbart said.
We started digging and found out Cantu’s street isn’t the only one impacted. Teichert also filed liens tied to 18 addresses on Marion Way in Land Park, 423 addresses in all of Land Park, 917 addresses across Sacramento County. The liens for PG&E work are worth nearly $3.8 million.
Grossbart said the clouded titles could keep all 917 homeowners from getting a loan, refinancing or even selling their house until the bills are paid.
“These properties could be foreclosed upon,” said Grossbart.
“I never contracted with Teichert,”‘ Cantu said. “I didn’t sign anything agreeing to this work.”
Teichert construction said it doesn’t plan to foreclose on the homeowners, it just wants PG&E, who has filed for bankruptcy protection, to pay its bills.
“The lien is against the PG&E facilities only and is not a lien against the residential properties,” said Teichert spokesperson, Clark Hulbert. “California law requires that a mechanics lien provide a description of the site sufficient for identification. Addresses or assessor parcel numbers are used only to describe the location of the PG&E facilities.”
Teichert also said, “Teichert Pipelines is a creditor in PG&E’s bankruptcy case. Teichert recorded mechanics liens in order to secure the amounts owed by PG&E.”
READ ALSO: What Does It Take To File A Lien?
The company also said, “By law, Teichert is required to record mechanics liens in order to be a secured creditor. PG&E recently filed its plan of reorganization which proposes paying all mechanics lien claimants in full.”
We reached out to PG&E. Company spokeswoman Brandi Merlo said, “This situation is an unfortunate consequence of PG&E’s Chapter 11 filing. We apologize for this situation and continue to work toward emerging from Chapter 11.”
“It’s a helpless feeling being in this situation,” said Cantu, who claimed the refinance could save him $500 per month.
After we got involved, Teichert reached out to Cantu’s title company to make sure he got his loan. The company said it would do the same for anyone else impacted. Months later, after going through three title companies, Cantu got his loan.