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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 23848
Experience:  14 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 24+ yrs
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I made the mistake of agreeing to let my exboyfriend, who is

Resolved Question:

I made the mistake of agreeing to let my exboyfriend, who is a licensed maintenance contractor, do some work on my house. We discussed fixing some termite damage in one bedroom, putting gravel around the perimeter of the house, and some rain diverters on the roof. Also changing out a few outlets. We also discussed bartering some of his labor for my old BMW. He started adding on items that we didn't originally agree on, such as pressure washing the entire house, deck , walkway. He also used my blower to clean up my entire yard. He got mad at me one day because I left the sprinklers on, he claimed he couldn't work in the "marsh" that I had created, and charged me a service call ($75) to collect his tools so that he could continue with another job. The next day he demanded that I pay him for his work, handed me an invoice for about $2,500 for one week of work, which never included the electrical outlet, the termite damage, or the rain diverters. He was billing me $30/hour, I believe claiming hours that he wasn't there ( I left for work with him still there sometimes) and also charging me $45 per trip to Lowes to pick up and deliver gravel. When I told him I didn't have that much money, he started ranting and raving about reporting me to multiple authorities, getting me and my roomates kicked out of my house. I paid him $1,000, which is all I had at the time. He is demanding payment for the balance by tomorrow, or he will carry through on his threats. There was never a written, or verbal , agreement as to his charges. In past years, he had charged me, my mother, and his mother $15/hour, so I expected something closer to that amount. To note, he was an alcoholic, has stopped drinking for over 6 months, but I believe his bipolar disorder had increased dramatically, and am wondering if I should be thinking of getting a restraining order. His behavior was erratic while he was working here, rude, demanding and somewhat bullying.


 


I have been told I run the risk of him placing a mechanics lien on my home, but I don't think he can do that without having had a contract.  I want to pay him a fair amount, somewhere between the $15/hour he used to charge, and the $30/hour he is now charging.  I do not agree to the $75 service charge, or the $45 per trip to Lowes ( there were 7 of them) to pick up gravel, as I could have had it delivered by Lowes, probably for one flat delivery fee.


I had told him that I could do the pressure washing myself ( I have done so on many occasions) but he kept insisting I didn't have the time to do so, and I agreed to not get into an argument with him ( of which there were many, while he was working here)

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thank you for using JA! My goal is to provide you with excellent service and help with your legal problem.
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If there was no written contract entered into where you agreed on the hourly rate, then it would be reasonable for you to assume that it would be close to the rate that you had paid in the past for his labor. If he unilaterally decided to perform additional repairs or services that you didnt' agree on, then you can't be forced to pay for those unless you gave him some blanket type of directive like "just do what needs to be done". .
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With that said, the worst he could do is file a mechanic's lien on the property for any claimed balance due and then file suit to try and collect it. If he can't prove that you authorized the work and that he did things that you didn't agree to, he will have a hard time collecting.
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As to any erratic behavior, if he has threatened you or your roommates, then you would have grounds to seek a restraining order against him through the courts so that he can have no contract with you. But if he was just a jerk, it probably wouldn't rise to the level of getting a judge to agree to put a RO in place. However, if you notify him that you don't want any further contact with him, and he continues to contact you, you could file a complaint for harassment and then could likely get a civil restraining order against him. But you need to document that you told him to stop contacting you first, like by email, text msg., or certified mail. Then you have proof of the demand to cease and desist and if he then violates it, you can prove your case for getting a RO.
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Thanks.

Barrister

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Please remember to rate my service. If you need further help, just reply to me via the “REPLY” button and I will be happy to continue.

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I cannot enter into an attorney client relationship, this is a public forum, and all posts are available for public viewing. There is no duty of confidentiality that attaches to any posts. The information provided is not a substitute for a local attorney’s legal advice.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I edited my original statement, and gave more information. As I stated, I agreed to the pressure washing only to avoid a fight with him. I also want to dispute the service call fee, and the delivery fees. I believe he never told me his rate, as he knew that I wouldn't want to pay that amount of money for services that I was able to do myself. Can I argue that in a court of law, if it comes to that? And, if he does file a mechanics lien, will there be some sort of hearing to determine if it is legitimate?

Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Can I argue that in a court of law, if it comes to that?
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You can definitely argue that you aren't liable for the cost of any services you didn't agree to, but you are probably out of luck on the pressure washing, even if you were pressured into agreeing. Without any agreement for the cost of gravel delivery, the court would likely award him whatever Lowes would have charged to deliver it. It is typically up to the homeowner to find out what they are being charged for services or labor prior to having the work done. But if you have an already established relationship where the rates were in a typical range, absent any notification by the contractor of a change in pricing, it is reasonable for you to assume that pricing would continue.
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And, if he does file a mechanics lien, will there be some sort of hearing to determine if it is legitimate?
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No, a contractor can file a lien without any type of hearing at all. They simply fill out the lien paperwork and file it with the county clerk and they will record the lien. It is one of the few types of liens that are statutorily allowed without the person having to sue you first. But to be able to enforce it, he would have to file suit to prove his case and get a judgment so he could foreclose on the lien.
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Thanks.

Barrister

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.

Please remember to rate my service. If you need further help, just reply to me via the “REPLY” button and I will be happy to continue.

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I cannot enter into an attorney client relationship, this is a public forum, and all posts are available for public viewing. There is no duty of confidentiality that attaches to any posts. The information provided is not a substitute for a local attorney’s legal advice.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.


As to the hours that he claimed he worked (while I was at work, and my roomates confirm that he was not here as late as he claimed) is that a he said/she said?


 


Also, regarding the lien, if he was to file one, would I be able to get a home equity loan during the time period that he filed it, and it was either enforced or not. And if I could not get a loan during that time period, what might that time period be? Would he be capable of dragging this issue out for a long period of time?

Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
As to the hours that he claimed he worked (while I was at work, and my roomates confirm that he was not here as late as he claimed) is that a he said/she said?
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To be honest with you, yes. But if he is claiming hours that roommates say he was not there, they can be called as witnesses to testify that he is fraudulently padding the bill.
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Also, regarding the lien, if he was to file one, would I be able to get a home equity loan during the time period that he filed it, and it was either enforced or not. And if I could not get a loan during that time period, what might that time period be? Would he be capable of dragging this issue out for a long period of time?
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No, any lender would do a title search and see the lien and require it to be released prior to making any loan. In NC, there is a statutory time limit of 180 days for the lienor to enforce the lien by filing suit against the homeowner or the lien expires and becomes invalid. So if he files a lien and doesn't act within 6 months, then it is unenforceable.
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Thanks.

Barrister

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.

Please remember to rate my service. If you need further help, just reply to me via the “REPLY” button and I will be happy to continue.

.

I cannot enter into an attorney client relationship, this is a public forum, and all posts are available for public viewing. There is no duty of confidentiality that attaches to any posts. The information provided is not a substitute for a local attorney’s legal advice.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

So, to clarify, he would have a hard time requiring me to pay $30/hour, if in the past he only charged $15/hour, or even did work for free. Other question, should I be straightforward in me email to him, documenting my rationale for my actions, letting him know that I may file a harrassment suit (?) if he keeps harrassing me, and lastly, should I mention anything to him about the pot he was smoking on my property while doing the work here? It would be in an effort to get him off my back with his multiple threats.

Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Other question, should I be straightforward in me email to him, documenting my rationale for my actions, letting him know that I may file a harrassment suit (?) if he keeps harrassing me.
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That would be best because if he knows that you are considering taking legal action against you, he may be more likely to agree to settle the matter rather than risk having to go to court.
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and lastly, should I mention anything to him about the pot he was smoking on my property while doing the work here?
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I don't think that would be legally relevant to the issue about the payment and could only serve to make him less willing to work something out.
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Thanks.

Barrister

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.

Please remember to rate my service. If you need further help, just reply to me via the “REPLY” button and I will be happy to continue.

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I cannot enter into an attorney client relationship, this is a public forum, and all posts are available for public viewing. There is no duty of confidentiality that attaches to any posts. The information provided is not a substitute for a local attorney’s legal advice.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Last question, I promise. Is there a time frame from which he can actually file a lien on my property, I understand the 6 month time from in which he has to file a claim, but can he file a lien at any time he wishes, and would I be informed of him filing a lien? Would I be present at hearing?

Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Yes, there is a 120 day notice requirement from the last furnishing of labor or materials and the lien must be enforced within 180 days after the last furnishing of labor or materials.
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He has to send you notice of the lien being filed, but there is no "hearing" about it, he just files the lien. As for enforcement, he would have to actually file a lawsuit in court with you as a defendant in order to pursue enforcement.
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.

.

Thanks.

Barrister

.

.

Please remember to rate my service. If you need further help, just reply to me via the “REPLY” button and I will be happy to continue.

.

I cannot enter into an attorney client relationship, this is a public forum, and all posts are available for public viewing. There is no duty of confidentiality that attaches to any posts. The information provided is not a substitute for a local attorney’s legal advice.

Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 23848
Experience: 14 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 24+ yrs
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