Q: I did some concrete work for a contractor and he says the home owner is refusing to pay. How do I get my money ?
Contractor says I need to file a lien on the homeowner but I’m not sure who is responsible when generally I’d be paid by the contractor.
Dear Unpaid Subcontractor: Your options for getting paid are two-fold: (A) a breach of contract claim against the General Contractor and/or (B) a mechanic's lien processing against the Homeowner. Clearly, you are not "required" to pursue the Homeowner (as intimated by the GC) because you have a contractual recourse against the G.C. (you hadn't mentioned if you have a written or oral contract with the G.C., and you're entitled to a claim for breach either way but written contracts outline potential other basis of recovery such as interest and fees; regardless you may pursue a breach of contract claim against the G.C. Further, and importantly as it pertains to the Mechanic's Lien process: this route is only available against the Homeowner if you had properly served out a "Preliminary Lien Notice" within twenty days of first installing your work, and if that process was not undertaken you will NOT have available the option #B above and instead your recourse is limited to the option #A above. Lastly, understand that depending upon the charged amount for the work you performed, you should consider filing a Small Claims action against the G.C. for your breach of contract pursuit, rather than the more sophisticated state courts (Superior Court, for example).
JIM GREER is an attorney licensed to practice in CA and CO and has specialized in construction matters for the past 34 years; nothing herein shall be construed as the offering of legal advice insofar as Mr. Greer is not in an attorney-client capacity with the inquiring party. 858.481.9006
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