Charlotte, NC asked in Business Law, Civil Litigation and Construction Law for North Carolina

Q: If I was 2 hours away from being done I called and the home owner told me to not come back and he kept my tools and didn

Didn't pay me . Told me he would press charges if I contacted him . I priced the job at $3,000 I was only 2 hours from being done the next day of when I called the next day he complained and told me not to come back now he refuses to pay for the work that has been completed

2 Lawyer Answers

A: You should sue the homeowner. (Assuming you did nothing illegal). Ask the police if they will go with you to recover your tools. Then sue them.

Also consider a mechanic’s lien.

Lynn Ellen Coleman
Lynn Ellen Coleman
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: Send the homeowner a demand letter for the amount owed for work done so far and the value of the tools that he has in his possession. State that he may return the tools to you within 5 days and if he returns them in the same condition they were in with no damage, he will still owe you $x for the work performed. Send the letter certified mail or priority mail through the Post Office. Do NOT pay extra for a signature confirmation. Use the tracking number to track online and determine when the letter was delivered.

If that does not work, I suggest you hire an attorney to help you file a mechanic's lien. This is probably the most effective way to get paid. The value of the labor and materials that you provided would be the amount of the lien. You ahve to file the line no more than 120 days after your first furnished the labor and materials. The attorney should be able to help you file a complaint for recovery of personal property in small claims court to get the tools back at the same time. . If the lien is not paid then the attorney will help you sue to foreclose on the lien. Attorneys fees are recoverable against the homeowner if a foreclosure lawsuit is filed. The foreclosure has to be filed within 180 days after the lien is filed.

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