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Question DetailsAsked on 7/28/2017

In the city of birmingham,ala. can some put a lien on your home for $20.00.

A contractor agreed to do some plumbing work for $40.00 & in the mist of the job went to $60.00 well each time. I paid him what he asked after the job was finished he stated another 20.00 because the job was actually a 200.00 job. So now he stated if I don't pay him another $20.00 he will put a contractor lien on my home.

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I have never heard of a minimum amount on a lien - I have seen $1 liens filed because a contractor wanted to get the lien on record and put pressure on the homeowner but the contractor did not have the documentationn on the lien amount yet. (In some states takes more work and notice requirements and such to file an initial lien than to amend it, and in some cases the priority on foreclosure payments is based on initial filing date regardless of whether the amount of the lien is amended later, so first-filed means first paid in the event of a foreclosure.

Below are a few similar questions about liens with more info on how they work and the problems having a lien filed on your property causes - but if you actualy have a lien filed you definitely need an attorney to straighten it out ASAP ! Though I seriously doubt he will file a lien for $20 - the filing itself generally costs that much or more. Sounds like he was maybe just trying to scare you - sounds like he sees you as vulnearable to such pressure, like if you are elderly, disabled, single female, etc.

Certainly for $20 sounds like the simple way out is to pay it, in exchange for a PAID IN FULL invoice showing total payments made, AND a lien release from him.

Though not having the $40 cost in writing was a mistake, as I am sure you realize now - then paying him more without at least a PAID IN FULL invoice was mistake number 2 - both in letting him ratchet the amount up (assuming the scope of work did not change by your request) and by not getting a PAID IN FULL invoice at time of payment.

Your other option - file a criminal fraud and maybe extortion (because ofthe $20 or I will file a lien threat) complaint with the police, because sounds like he is definitely running a form of a "bait and switch" scam here - the lowball quote and then demand more variety. And I suspect by his behavior and the $ amounts (unless in an incredibly low labor cost area like rural deep south) that he is not licensed either - and for that rate I would suspect he may even be an illegal alien or is wanted so it working "off the radar". Bet he demanded the payment in cash, not by check, right ?

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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