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Experience:  14 years of experience in all areas of family law.
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I live in Colorado. There was miscommunication with an architiect.

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I live in Colorado. There was miscommunication with an architiect. We had general discussions on a remodel. He sent preliminary pictures that I believed were part of the bid process. He assumed there was general agreement (no verbal or written contract to a specific price) to proceed. When he came back with numbers out of my budget, I stopped the process. He then sent me a $4000 bill for formal plans.

Can he file a lien on my home, or does that first require a judgment to be secured against me?

Thank you for your question and for contacting Just Answer. Your question addresses two aspects of the law. The first one deals with contract law. This architect, in my opinion, does not have a valid claim for breach of contract. In order for a contract to form three elements must be present. First, there must be a clearly communicated offer, second there must be a clearly communicated acceptance, and, third, there must be consideration between both parties. This means that both parties offer something of value in exchange for the obligations they undertake pursuant to the contract. Based upon the information contained in your question, none of these elements are present. The closest thing this architect might have for a cause of action under contract law might be a breach of contract action raised upon a "quantum meruit" theory. The textbook example of this is where someone performs a service, the other party is aware that the service is being performed and benefits from the value of the service. The party providing the service gets stiffed. To illustrate, say Tom Sawyer shows up to paint your fence, he does this while you are sitting on your porch watching him. When he is finished he approaches you for payment and you tell him to get lost. Needless to say, this is a fact intensive cause of action, and extremely difficult to prove. I would not be too worried about this architect finding a lawyer to represent him based upon a theory of quantum meruit with the facts you have presented.

The second aspect of the law that this fact pattern might apply to would be Colorado's liens provided by statute. Pursuant to C.R.S.§38-22-101 there must first be a contract or a memorandum filed with the county clerk's office which clearly details or outlines the construction or building project. Even if that requirement were met, the party claiming the lien must have first filed or provided a written notice either to the contractor or to the owner of the property that was improved by the labor provided by the party claiming the lien. C.R.S.§38-22-102 Finally, this architect would have to file the lien with the county recorder's office, and, serve you with notice of intent to file lien 10 days before he does so.

I would respond to this architect by telling him that you did not contract for him to provide services, and, there is no basis for the $4000 bill. Essentially, send them a business letter stating that you are disputing the debt or the bill and that pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Act, he is not to contact you attempting to make further collection efforts.

I hope that you have found this information helpful. If there is something that I have not explained clearly, or, if you are dissatisfied with the answer, please don't hesitate to ask a follow-up question. Also, please remember to click on the green "accept" button so that I may receive credit for this answer as well as any comments or feedback you may have. Your question will not close, and you will still have the opportunity to follow-up if needed. I wish you the best of luck in pursuing your case.

This is information only, not legal advice. No attorney-client relationship has been created. Please consult an attorney in your state for legal advice regarding your matter.
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