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Maverick
Maverick, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 5767
Experience:  20 years experience as a civil trial and appellate lawyer
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I did a remodeling job in my house that was suppose to take

Customer Question

I did a remodeling job in my house that was suppose to take roughly 5 months last year that turned out it took over a year. The contractor just finished last month so is about 8 months over. He said that he will put a lien on my house if I don't pay him the upgrades that he did about 10K. What are my option? The contract was not notarized and he verbally said he was going to pay back per day the days for his delay which I estimate to be about 24K.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Maverick replied 1 year ago.
Welcome. My name is Maverick. I very much enjoy what I do and I hope that you will benefit from the information or assistance that I provide.
First, is a lien is actually filed, Texas Property Code Section
53.160 establishes an expedited procedure to remove certain invalid or unenforceable liens. So, you may file a verified motion to specify the
legal basis why the lien is invalid or unenforceable if there is a technicality involved. See link below:
http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/txstatutes/PR/5/B/53/G/53.160
Second, if both sides are not able to arrive at an acceptable settlement, then I would suggest that you file a suit against the contractor for breach of contract seeking the 24k, and for a declaratory judgment that his lien is invalid because of "offset". In other words, if you prevail on the 24k suit, the court would deduct the 10k that you owe to the contractor from the 24k he owes you and thus he would owe you a net of 14k. If this happens, his lien would be deemed by the court as null and void. This is done by a declaratory judgment claim [DJC]:
http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/CP/htm/CP.37.htm
Before doing this, it would be helpful for you to know that under Texas law, both a breach of contract claim and a DJC allow you the possibility of recovering your legal fees from the contractor if you win you case [and vice a versa] . Knowledge of this law should provide both sides an incentive to settle. Also, because of this, you may wish to hire a local business or construction litigation attorney to add pressure and send out a demand letter on your behalf. You should be able to do at least that for about $250.00-$500.00 to see if the contractor comes to the bargaining table.
Also, there may be the possibility to sue under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practice act which also provides for treble damages and attorney's fees and so your lawyer can use this as leverage against the contractor which the contractor may not necessarily be able to use against you on his simple counter claim for breach of contract to pay the 10k.
While we cannot refer a lawyer to you, you may wish to find one through the state bar:
https://www.texasbar.com/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Find_A_Lawyer&Template=/CustomSource/MemberDirectory/Search_Form_Client_Main.cfm
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