Q: Can an unlicensed laborer take a homeowner to civil court if a homeowner refuses to pay for a job not done properly?
A: There are not enough facts here. Anytime someone isn't paid for a job they were hired to do they could in theory sue. A lot of labor would fall under that category. However, the law has a theory that someone who is themselves in the wrong usually can't get the law to provide them help.
Where the law requires a license and the person IS licensed and not paid, they can of course seek redress in the courts (or by mechanic's lien), provided they do so within the relevant time frames.
In addition, the law doesn't require a license for everything so if an unlicensed person is hired to haul away trash or rake the yard or wash the windows or other type of work that doesn't require a license they presumably could sue civilly to recover whatever was owed.
However, where the law requires a license for instance (whether MHIC, electrician, etc.) and makes it illegal to do work without a license, someone who tries to get around the law and work without a license does so at the risk of not getting paid. The law will not award an unlicensed person a judgment for work they did illegally and it would be foolish for an unlicensed person to sue for work they did illegally.
While not legal advice or an analysis of the unknown facts of your situation I hope the general information helps. You may wish to seek legal advice.
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