(16.) If a contractor ceases labor on an unfinished building, the owner must, within forty days thereafter, file a notice. (See Form No. 52.) The two last named notices are to be filed in the office of the County Recorder.
(17.) Mechanics, material men, contractors, sub-contractors, architects and others have preferred liens, to the extent of the whole contract price, upon real property for labor and materials furnished therefor. Where there are several liens, they take precedence in the following order: 1st, laborers; 2nd, material men; 3rd, sub-contractors; 4th, contractor. Such liens take precedence over homesteads.
(18.) Every person, save the original contractor, claiming the benefit of the lien law must, within thirty days after the completion of the building, file for record with the County Recorder a statement of his claim, such claim to be verified upon oath. (See Form No. 54 for material men, and Form No. 55 for laborers.) The original contractor may file his lien within sixty days after completion. The lien attaches for a period of ninety days, and within that time proceedings must be begun in the proper court to enforce the lien.
(19.) Where an owner leases land, or sells same under a contract of sale, the owner retaining the title in his own name, with the understanding that buildings will be placed thereon by the lessee or purchaser, such owner should post on the land, in a conspicuous place, not later than three days after such buildings or improvements are begun, a notice (See Form No. 56) to the effect that he will not be responsible for such buildings or improvements.
(20.) Where the contract price is less than $1000, the filing of contract is not required.
(21.) There are many vexations and annoyances connected with building. Nevertheless, the average man, rather than to purchase a house already built, prefers to buy a lot and erect his own house. Nearly every one has some pet plan which he wishes to see constructed and which he firmly believes will be a little better than anything else ever built in the house line. There is an old saying to the effect that "Fools build houses; wise men live in them/'
Sec. 125. Of Homesteads.
(1.) A certain amount of both real and personal property is, by the laws of the several states, exempt from liability for the debts of the owner, and cannot be attached and sold, provided certain steps which the law says shall be complied with, are taken. The real property so exempt is called a homestead. A homestead represents the dwelling house at which the family resides, and outbuildings of every kind necessary or convenient for family use; it may include a farm or garden, or one or more city lots or blocks. The only tests are use and value.
(2.) The right of homestead may be exercised by the husband and wife jointly, by the husband alone, or by the wife alone, or by the "head of a family." Any person, whether married or not, may be the head of a family, provided he or she has residing on the premises with him or her certain minor relatives, or certain other relatives as specified in the law, who have attained the age of majority and are unable to support themselves.
(3.) In order to select a homestead, the claimant must execute, acknowledge and file for record a declaration of homestead. (See Forms No. 57 and 58.) If the claimant is married, the selection may be from the community property, or from the separate property of the husband, or from the separate property of the wife, and in the latter case her consent must be shown by her joining in, or making, the declaration. In order to impress the character of homestead upon the premises, the claimant must be actually residing there at the time the declaration is filed, and, in California, the value of the homestead must not exceed $5000 if selected by the head of a family, and not over $1000 if selected by any other person.
(4.) Both the husband and wife must join in a deed or mortgage in order to convey or incumber land on which a declaration of homestead has been filed. The homestead can be abandoned (See Form No. 59), but if the claimant is married, the husband and wife must join in the instrument of abandonment. If the husband or wife becomes hopelessly insane, after filing declaration of homestead, the law provides that upon appliaction to, and order of, the probate court, the husband or wife, not insane, may convey or incumber the homestead.
(5.) The word "homestead" also has reference to the right of citizens of the United States to enter upon and appropriate, or pre-empt, as it is called, 160 acres or less of public lands, the title to which is acquired after the expiration of five years, during which the claimant must have resided upon or cultivated said lands and complied with certain other conditions and paid therefor at certain prices.