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Question DetailsAsked on 4/26/2017

Can a contractr come to your home for payment without your permission?Can he enter your property to remove the work

A tree service company installed mulch, stone, and cut down a tree on my property. However, they carelessly cut an under ground sprinkler feed to the tree. They issued an invoice for all of the work the day they cut the tree down, but they had not yet fixed the cut sprinkler line. I did not withold payment, but simply arranged for my bank to issue a check via a "Bill Pay" service the bank has, to be delivered to the contractor 6 days after the service was rendered.

The contractor capped the sprinkler line 3 days after the job started and then decided he did not want to wait until the 6th day for the check. He called and text'd my cell phone on that 3rd day and said he was coming to my home to collect immediate payment. He said if I did not pay that he would go on to my property and remove the mulch and stone at my expense. I warned him via text that he was scheduled to receive a check thru my bank's Bill Pay service on the 6th day following the service start date.

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1 Answer


Sounds like a spiteful person - I would start keeping a record of documentation, and of the text messages.

He can call/text and ask for payment if he wants - but you do not have to agree if you don't feel it is due, or if contract does not call for it yet. Nothing illegal - though a bit rude - to come to your house without your agreement.

The threat to take back the stone and mulch sounds like a bluff - likely to cost as much or more than it is worth to remove and haul it off.

I would stop the payment until the line is fixed - period.

And no he cannot reclaim the material once it is down - it is now part of your property, and if he tries to take it back I would tell him to leave, and if he does not do so I would call the cops on him for trespassing and theft. He can take civil action - suit, lien, etc for non-payment, but he cannot take back materials. [In some states, I have heard that if the materials are delivered but not yet installed he can take them back if they are not paid for, but that is a rarity - and they have to be in a condition that they would be considered "contractor stockpile", not installed or placed or such - like just end-dumped in the drive, or a bundle of wood dropped off a truck or such.]

[Caveat - generally, during a contract dispute, unless you get a lien against HIM, neither can a homeowner prevent him from recovering his equipment and tools which are NOT part of the installed work, at a mutually agreeable time.]

Course, if you throw him off for trying to reclaim the materials you can figure how likely the sprinkler line repair is to get done - though you could file a claim against his insurance company for it.

I would withhold the payment, and explain to him in writing that he will be paid the agreed-upon amount upon completion of the sprinkler line repair - which is probably only about $50 work or so, so not a big thing for him to do. Don't know why if he capped it he did not just splice in a repair piece instead and make it good.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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