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RealEstateAnswer
RealEstateAnswer, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 25375
Experience:  10+ years in handling Leases, Landlord-Tenant, Foreclosures,Mortgages, and Eviction cases
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My small company performed foundation repair for a client.

Customer Question

My small company performed foundation repair for a client. He paid his deposit but now at completion of the work he refuses to pay the balance because he says the floor isn't level, he's right that the floor is humped up but that's not something foundation repair can fix.
Can I dig up his yard and remove my materials?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 7 months ago.

Good morning. Was the issue with the floor addressed a head of time or is there anything in contract which advises of this and/or a service which is extra?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
He complained of the floor when I first met with him about the job but i never told him I could fix it. His framing and slab were dropped heavily in one corner and installed piers and lifted that, our signed agreement states that I will raise the slab foundation within level. This has been done.
Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 7 months ago.

Thank you for the additional information. If you did what was agreed upon in the contract, then you would have performed and he has a legal obligation to pay you. The fact that he is complaining about something that was not included in the contract and which you could not and never agreed to do, would not be a basis for him to withhold payment. However, you could not simply enter and go into his yard because 1) you would be trespassing, since you no longer have permission to enter and 2) you could not dig everything up and ruin the area, since you would not likely be able to put it in the same condition, prior to the work. As such, you would have to go after him and sue him for the money owed and look into placing a mechanics lien on the property as well. I know this is not ideal but in the future, to avoid this type of problem, a deposit should be paid to schedule the work and reserve the date and prior to starting, the balance should be paid. If there are issues, you rather someone chase you for the money then you chase them, as in this case.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I got a deposit but this is a significant amount owed. How can he keep my materials he hasn't paid for. I don't have the money to sue him and small claims court is a joke, it's completely unenforceable most of the time.
Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 7 months ago.

I do understand but this is a civil issue and what needs to be done, when a party refuses to pay under the agreement/contract and there is a breach. While I believe everything which you are saying, he is claiming he has a basis to withhold what is owed While he may be wrong, this has to be settled in court and if you prevail, you can recover attorney fees as well. As I shared, if you were to enter, he could call the police and you may be charged with trespass and then he would have to sue you for the damage done, in removing everything.

Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 7 months ago.

I just wanted to follow up and see if you had any other questions or needed me to clarify something. I am here to help, so please let me know. Thanks!