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Question DetailsAsked on 3/28/2016

I left a bad review for a contractor, and now they are threatening a lien on my home. Do I have any recourse?

I left a review on the bad work and communication of a contractor after not getting an issue fixed (or the job completed). Now the contractor is threatening to put a lien on the house because of the review. It was all a verbal agreement, and my mom already handed out the final payment (we have all the receipts). Can he actually put the lien on with no paperwork, or what can we do to get it taken care of if he does?

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Lacking a contract makes it tough to prove that you are fully paid - but if you are then his filing a lien is likely criminal and civil fraud and extortion.

There are far too many contractors improperly filing liens these days, because in most jurisdictions they can file it without any advance notice to the customer. You are probably not inclined to do so, but personally I would clean his clock and file criminal extortion and fraud charges against a contractor like this. As well as filing a written complaint with the state licensing board to try to get them to pull his license.

You say you final paid but he has not finished the work - in that case I would file a claim with his bonding company to have them get it completed at no added cost to you, though without a contrct you will be hard pressed to prove what the correct total price is.

A lien being filed can not only stop the house from being sold without clearting it (and escrow companies tend to believe it is legitimate and pay it at closing if it has not been removed before then) - but with interactive databases gets reproted and can cause credit card companies and home loan providers and such to cancel your credit or call your loan. Mortgages typically have call provisions if a lien is filed against a property they loaned money on, so letting it go without immediate action (if he actually files one) is not a good idea.

Removing the lien takes either a Lien Release by him, or a court hearing where the court will hear both sides and decide if the lien if legit or not.

Of course, the safest thing is to talk to an attoreny specializing in real property and construction contracts - to be on the safe side, plus letters from attorneys get a lot more attention from contractors and bonding companies than one from you.

And of course, when all is said and done (subject to review by your attorney to avoid violating any settlement terms) sounds like this contractor deserves an appropriate final edited Review on Angies List.

On the review yuou posted - contact AL or Yelp or whichever site you posted it on about this - they take dim view of contractors/vendors threatening customers about bad reviews.

Here are a couple of other previous questions with responses regarding liens which might be of interest too -

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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