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Roger, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 31683
Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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I am a licensed california contractor. I entered into a verbal

Customer Question

I am a licensed california contractor. I entered into a verbal contract (supporting evidence through email exchanges) to repair a chimney on Nov 21st 2012. After cocompletion of the project Dec 9 the customer requested some further additional repairs (that were not on the emailed contract) that i promptly did finish by Dec 13th. Upon sending a final bill of $3900 the customer agreed (in a phone text) to send the checks soon.
On January 25th I inquired about the payment and the customer says they just lost their job and they are trying to have the insurance cover the repair cost. (the snow originally was responsible for the chimney damage). Then she stated that if insurance wont cover she will have to do 4 payments. It's been over a week and no response (she promised to call) .
What do I do to inspire action? Should I accept the payment plan? What about interest? Can I end up not paid. What about lien? What legal action can I take. I really sympathize with the person's situation and would like to resolve it smmothly.
Thank You
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Roger replied 4 years ago.
Hi - my name is Kirk and I'm a Business litigation attorney. Thanks for your question.

In order to resolve this smoothly, you may have to accept what the homeowner is offering - - the payments over 4 months. You could also file a construction lien against the property to ensure payment through your lien.

A verbal contract is legally enforceable, so you have the same rights and can enforce your rights through the purchase orders and other documents proving the debt and payments due/acknowledgment of the debt.

Your best course is to notice the owner of your construction lien and file the appropriate paperwork to ensure your lien rights are protected. Then, you can negotiate with the owner and decide how payment will be made.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank You,

By construction lien, do you mean mechanics lien?

if so ,I have 90 days to do that, right? Should I inform the customer of that period and give them a chance to protect ability to borrow against, refinance, or sell the property?


Expert:  Roger replied 4 years ago.
Hi - sorry for the delay. i was helping another customer.

Yes, I'm referring to a mechanic's lien. Here's a good link that you can read about them:

You generally have 90 days to file your lien. Here's a link with the time lines:

There are forms online that you can purchase for this, or you can have a local attorney file the lien for you. If you want to give the owner some time and tell her that if she doesn't pay within a certain period of time, you will file a lien against the property.

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