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NateLawAnswers, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Over 8 years of legal practice.
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I am a contractor who has been working with a client on a large

Customer Question

I am a contractor who has been working with a client on a large landscape remodel on his home. He has been extremely difficult to deal with making many changes and refusing to provide details or plans on what needed to be built. He started to hold back payments for work performed in an attempt to force me to complete extra work that I was not willing to do because of lack of information.

I was recently short payed by 50% for no legitimate reason and I threatened to sell the receivable if I was not payed. He then told me he was going to go back over all of the completed work to date and find issues that he can then back charge me with and hold further payments. What are my rights? He told me that he was going to bring in another contractor to finish the job and bill me for it. Can he do that?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  NateLawAnswers replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for your question and welcome to

He can bring in another contractor, but he cannot bill you for it. That is bluster.

You are entitled to file a lien against his property for work done and materials supplied. As long as you have your contract to back you up, he will not be able to defeat the lien.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I have one additional question regarding this matter - my wife was an employee of this person. She has since left the position due to the payment issues. He is being spiteful and threatening sending me long emails regarding the work and telling me he will be sending it in to review of a third party. We have a arbitration clause in the contract. Do I need to remind him of this? Should I stay silent at this point? The more letters he writes I feel compelled to answer to defend myself. However, it seems that it is only making it worse.

Expert:  NateLawAnswers replied 5 years ago.
Simply remind him of the arbitration clause. You don't need to get in a spitting match via email - you're right, that does no good. Just at the end, if he doesn't pay you, file the lien. The law is very much pro contractor in those situations. His nit picking will not negate the money he owes you for the work you've done.