Montebello, CA asked in Business Law and Contracts for California

Q: i am owed 10,000 for painting a house. its been 8 monthes, how do I get him to pay me?

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2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Under California law, you have a few options to try to recover the $10,000 owed to you for painting the house. Here are some steps you can take:

1. Send a demand letter: Write a formal letter to the person who owes you money, stating the amount owed, the reason for the debt, and a deadline for payment. Keep a copy of the letter for your records.

2. File a mechanic's lien: If the work you did was a home improvement project, you may be able to file a mechanic's lien against the property. This is a legal claim that can prevent the property from being sold until you are paid. In California, you must file the lien within 90 days of completing the work.

3. File a small claims lawsuit: If the amount owed is $12,500 or less, you can file a small claims lawsuit against the person who owes you money. In California, you can file a claim in the county where the person lives or where the work was performed.

4. Hire a collections agency: You can hire a collections agency to pursue the debt on your behalf. They will typically take a percentage of the amount recovered as their fee.

5. Consult with an attorney: If the above methods are unsuccessful or if you need legal advice, consider consulting with an attorney who specializes in collections or construction law. They can help you understand your options and represent you in court if necessary.

Remember to keep detailed records of all agreements, invoices, and correspondence related to the debt, as this documentation will be important if you need to take legal action.

Robert Kane
Robert Kane
  • Eagan, MN
  • Licensed in California

A: Congratulations on your new business! Welcome. All business owners need to establish an approach for collecting past due accounts and such. Ultimately, you will need to prove that you are entitled to the amount due to a judge.

It's important to document all aspects of the transaction(s.) This isn't as easy to do as it seems, especially when services (not goods) are involved. What is a clear addition to you may be deemed an inclusion by the customer.

You can continue with your own legitimate

collection techniques and ultimately file a small claims lawsuit to get the $10,000 she owes you. There are numerous resources you can take advantage of.

A small business attorney can assist you with this current problem, thereby preparing your business for the future as well. Good luck!

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