Real Estate Law
Have Real Estate Law Questions? Ask a Real Estate Lawyer.
Did the contractor perform work on the house in question (the rental house) or was it something else?
Who contracted with the man to do the work?
Was the work completed and was payment made?
Is there work yet to be done that has delayed payment or has the man breached the contract to perform the work in some way?
Did the landlord (property owner) authorize the work?
A contractor may place a lien on the property they work to improve if the contract payment is not made in a timely manner. A lien is a security interest, not unlike a mortgage or deed of trust, that puts the world on notice that an unsatisfied debt is attached to the home. If you and your ex husband had a written lease and he had placed a notice in the land records that the home was a rental property then it is possible a lien could not be placed by the contractor. Since I doubt such notice has been provided in the land records the contractor may be free to place the lien.
The contractor can then sue you to enforce the contract. You also have the right to sue the contractor to remove the lien and for breach of contract if the work performed does not satisfy the terms of your contract with him. If the contractor prevails in the lawsuit then he could execute on your assets, garnish your wages, and potentially force the sale of the home to satisfy the judgment.
At this point you should consult a local attorney about this matter. You will need to explore your options for suing this contractor and preventing any lien from being placed on the home.
Please reply if I can help further.
When I am looking for a respectable attorney in another jurisdiction, I find the easiest way is using http://www.lawyers.com/. This service has been used by lawyers for decades to find other attorneys in other jurisdictions. It is actually the new online version of a series of book volume listings that used to be found in every law library. The best thing about this listing service is that you can search by practice area, geographical location, and it has peer review ratings to help you pick a lawyer with a good reputation.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).