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Question DetailsAsked on 2/23/2017

will i be kicked out of my home from a contractor's lien on my home? what do i do about this?

a contractor that was suppose to take care of repairs to my home after a raccoon invasion, failed to put the skirting of my home in the contract, and he says the contract was fulfilled on his end, but on my end, my home is still in the condition it was in when this started last May, now if i don't pay him the remaining money that the contract was for, he will place a contractor's lien on my home. his workers would show up whenever they felt like it, not when they were scheduled to, owner kept saying more money to take care of the skirting. the price i agreed to was suppose to take care of ALL the needed repairs, including the skirting. He agreed to it in one of our emails before i signed the contract. how do i go about this situation??

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Hmmmm - sounds like another case of the unread contract - i.e. not ensuring, BEFORE SIGNING, that the contract fully spelled out what the scope of work was to be.

OF course, the time to resolve this would have been the first time he said it would cost more for the skirting, not long after the fact - but that is 20-20 hindsight. An racoon invasion repairs taking almost a year - something is definitely wrong with that - ecven in a severe case he should have been in and out in a month or two, and that would include replacement of a significant amount of chewed wiring and ducts and such.

Your options, other than going straight to an attorney:

1) file a complaint with the state contractor licensing board (if he is licensed or required to be so for the type of work being done (which he might not be for that type of work if basically handyman work with no structural work or plumbing/wiring, etc)

2) file a claim with his bonding company for them to finish the work for the same original total contract price - though if the skirting is not implied or spelled out in the contract, they will not pay for it either

3) file a complaint with the local business licensing agency, who can pull his business license if they determine he has been fraudulent (though takes a long time)

I certainly would NOT pay anything more till the job (as spelled out in the contract) is completely and correctly done.

If the issue is whether skirting work was included in the contract, and it was not spelled out in the original contract, then you need to either accept you failed (if that is the case) to be sure the contract included what it should have and pay up, or get an attorney to work through the issue on the basis of a failure to have a meeting of the minds - i.e. you thought the work to be done was different than he evidently does (or claims) so there was not a valid contract in the first place. Then it would go to arbitration or court for determination of what the fair value of the work he actually did would be. The more detail there was in the original contract regarding the scope of work, the worse position you are in with regards to winning out on that issue if the skirting repairs were not included. The more ambiguous it was, the better for you. The eMail issue strengthens your case - it shows that was your intent - but not being included in the contract scope of work leaves it open for him to claim that was later dropped before the contract was signed. An attorney, using subpoena powers to get his estimate paperwork, might be able to show it was included in his estimate which, if that amount matches the contract amount, would show he also intended including it, which would really help your case.
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As to the lien - a lien on the property is serious business these days, because of centralized reporting of debts and finances and liens and such. While he would have to go through a foreclosure action to actually kick you out of your home - which would occur (if it went full course) as a courthouse steps (or similar for your state) sale of the property, with him getting an amount stipulated by state law - sometimes only his lien amount and legal costs of the foreclosure and sale, sometimes more than that, I have heard of at least one state where he might get all the proceeds.

You would have opportunity to stop the sale - by court action against him to fight the lien, by posting a bond for the amount until it is resolved, sometimes other means as well.

But - DEFINITELY would need an attorney, to prevent bad things happening to your house.

Also, if a lien is filed, that constitutes a notice of default -meaning many or maybe all your other outstanding debts with mutual default provisions in them (and a lot these days do) can then accelerate THOSE debts and demand immediate repayment - potentially mortgage, car, any personal loansa, student loans, etc - plus it wrecks havoc with your credit rating, so strong measure should be taken ASAP to forestall him placing a lien in the first place.

Notification that you consider him to be in default on the contract would be a first protective measure - and for that to be done effectively you need an attorney ASAP.

Answered 1 year ago by LCD




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