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Thread: Liens and legal issues

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    UK
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    12,018
    Quote Originally Posted by goldstar View Post
    I’m posting this as a point of information so that in the event any of you get yourselves into a situation like I have you’ll know what to do. There’s an unspoken rule that states ANY TIME you get to do electrical work on a commercial job – make sure you have a well written and signed contract.
    Totally agree. I just wouldn't limit it to commercial. The other point I would add is get signed variation orders for any changes in the scope of supply.
    Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes.

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    6,049
    go after his bond
    not to collect but so he has trouble obtaining one for future work

    contact his insurer
    they typically don't like deadbeats

    contact any associated licensing boards

    you have proof of a contract
    the bogus check

    you learned a couple of things
    have a contract with change orders
    do not wait (the check is in the mail bs)
    do not get too far behind, do progress billing if possible

    you likely are not the first this guy burned

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Huntington Beach, CA (19 Hrs. 22 Min. from Winged Horses)
    Posts
    6,702
    Quote Originally Posted by goldstar View Post
    Not sure what you mean by a bond. I don't even know if he had to put up a performance bond to do this work.
    license bond. i googled it, but i don't know what part of the state
    your work was in.

    get the gc's license number, and see who bonded him. it'll be
    for at least $3k. file a claim with the bonding company.

    they will contact both of you by email most likely. then you
    can release the claim when he pays in full.

    this is NOT a lien. you are filing a claim against his insurance
    bond. and unless you are paid ALL the money you are owed,
    you claim the $3k, and file a small claims court for the rest.

    if his bonding company pays that claim, they will have his
    license suspended till he makes it right.

    he can't pull permits. dead in the water.
    ~New signature under construction.~
    ~~~~Please excuse the mess.~~~~

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    1,743
    I would not and have not paid attorneys to file a lien, it is a very simple process

    In many states one can not only place a lien against the property the work was done in, one can place the SAME lien against every property the original property owner owns.

    This is done via contact with the court clerk, after the initial lien in registered .

    The CC can issue you certified copies, which you can then place against other properties owned by the originating entity

    One finds this out @ the registry of deeds.

    Further, and this is the REAL kicker, many states have a complaint form for life safety hazards associated with properties that have public access. rentals and commercial structures apply

    Entering formal complaints weakens the owners ability to fiscally keep up, resulting in foreclosures (especially if they're slums) sooner than later

    ~RJ~

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    26,019
    In New Jersey for job this size you are required by law to have a contract so technically now the Board could come after you for not having one. Also did the job pass it's final inspection? Legally you cannot get your last payment until it has been it has passed and been signed off.
    Rob

    Moderator

    All responses based on the 2014 NEC unless otherwise noted

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    New Jersey
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    6,127
    Quote Originally Posted by infinity View Post
    In New Jersey for job this size you are required by law to have a contract so technically now the Board could come after you for not having one. Also did the job pass it's final inspection? Legally you cannot get your last payment until it has been it has passed and been signed off.
    I've never seen anything that puts a max or min on this final payment. I once had a kitchen remodel done by a contractor who requested final payment before the final inspection. I think he was in a cash crunch. Because he had done a good job on our bathroom and it was a good result, I went ahead with it. Everything was fine, but I'd hesitate to do this with a first-time contractor.

  7. #37
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    New Jersey
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    26,019
    Quote Originally Posted by gadfly56 View Post
    I've never seen anything that puts a max or min on this final payment. I once had a kitchen remodel done by a contractor who requested final payment before the final inspection. I think he was in a cash crunch. Because he had done a good job on our bathroom and it was a good result, I went ahead with it. Everything was fine, but I'd hesitate to do this with a first-time contractor.
    You're correct, but if there is not agreed upon contractual final payment then it could just be the balance owed in this case 15.5K. Back in the day we would specify in the contract that the permit fees are the final payment since they're typically unknown when the contract is signed and maybe only a few hundred dollars. I only mention it because technically you can't even ask for without the final inspection.
    Rob

    Moderator

    All responses based on the 2014 NEC unless otherwise noted

  8. #38
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Northern illinois
    Posts
    16,931
    Verbal contracts are just as enforceable as written ones in most cases. The guy either can't or won't pay. Maybe a combination of both.

    It happens a lot in the construction business. Learn from it.

    Some GCs are scam artists, others are just horrible at being a GC. A few are pretty good at it. Biggest problem is a lot of the smaller guys are so poorly capitalized they are screwed before they even start and don't realize how deep in the hole they are.
    Bob

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    3,727
    Just to be clear, I know I'm at a disadvantage by not having a well written and signed contract. However, that doesn't necessarily knock me out of the box. I have 16 well written invoices (that have been presented to the GC in January) that show, in detail, the work I performed. In addition, he's already paid me $8K on the total job ($23.5K). My accounting software shows how the $8K was applied to the invoices. I have all this printed out and it was presented to my attorney. In addition I made a transcript of all the text messages between the GC and myself in the event we have to go to small claims court. All of this put together makes for a pretty decent "implied" contract. If nothing else it shows that we had a good working relationship.

    Unfortunately this particular project didn't lend itself to having a contract. There were never any drawings or specs to bid on. It started out as installing a few receptacles in a waiting area and wiring a 3 ton AC unit. I thought I was going to be in and out within a week. Then, within a few weeks there were 6 new auto lifts installed (all requiring a 30A, 240V circuit instead of the existing 20A circuits that were existing and in place). Then a 60A, 3 phase air compressor showed up that had to be wired, then there was lighting in the bays, then additional receptacles, outdoor lighting, heating units, etc.

    IMHO, either someone knew exactly what was needed and intended to defraud me from the outset or they were legitimately dumb and had no idea what was involved (electrically speaking). BTW, I checked with the AC guy and he was paid in full. All the jobs were completed, inspected and passed.

    I also asked my attorney if the lien could collect interest monthly if not paid on time. His answer was no because it would have to be specifically written into a contract in order for that to happen.

  10. #40
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    2

    Similar Situation

    I am in the middle of a very similar situation Myself. We were recommended to this Client, by a Realtor we both knew. He was doing a major remodel & addition, and needed an Electrician.
    He was in the process of looking for a Framing Crew, so we just went in & demo'd all of the old wiring. Pulled the Permit, Relocated the Panel, and got temp power ready for Construction. We only had some shop/truck supplies involved & a couple of days labor... so I told him I'd add it to the Rough In draw, and asked him to let me know when He thought they were about a week away from needing Us back.
    We were covered up with work at the time, so I really didn't give it much thought, but after some time I did realize it had been quite a while & I hadn't heard anything. So I call Him up, and looking back, He did act a little "off" but it wasn't clear why. He even told me they "should be ready for Us in a week or so." After another week or so, I was working nearby, so I dropped by the job site. Found the drywall was just being finished. When I called Him, He apologized over & over, said He didn't know how to tell me, and that to get a Contractor to do the framing, he had to let him bring in all of his people to do the entire project. Told him it was weird, but just business to Me. I'd be sending Him an Invoice for everything we had invested & done to date. No Problem was His reply. (From that point on, I communicated with him via text only.) After many promises to pay, more apologies etc. I finally figured that this was not going to break my way without some legal actions. So after a quick call to my Attorney, I now have a Lien applied & recorded on this Property, as well as an upcoming Small Claims court date ! This house is on the Market for $699,900 Since He was served his copies of the Lien & Court date, I haven't heard anything. It was an Ordeal, but I'm kinda glad I now know everything that's involved. I will post the outcome, after it's resolved.

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