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I live in Monmouth County NJ. I have a 5,000 square foot home

on 3/4 acre with a...
I live in Monmouth County NJ. I have a 5,000 square foot home on 3/4 acre with a good deal of landscaping. My long time landscaper retired from the business last summer and sold his business to a competing landscaper. I was not pleased with the service last summer and this spring and terminated the new landscaper. There was never any written contract or written agreement on fees. All services prior to termination were billed at a reasonable rate (comparable to the prior landscaper's rates) and were paid in full. There was never any itemization of the bills other than a general description of what was done. After the termination, I received the final bill for services rendered which was mostly for mulching of my 3/4 acre property, and it was significantly higher than it should have been, an obvious retaliation for the firing in my opinion. The bill was for about $2,300 and I believed it should have been more in the range of $1,000. I wrote a letter expressing my opinion as to what have occurred, and sent a check for $600 which was cashed, and said I would be willing to pay no more than an additional $600 but only if I received an invoice that that would stipulate that this would be the final payment in full. The landscaper sent me back a letter threatening to report me to the 3 credit reporting services and to place a lien on my home. My question is how concerned should I be? Can he report me to the credit agencies and/or file a lien against my home without first filing a legal action against me? Wouldn't he first need a legal judgment? Should I ask for an itemized bill? Should I hire an attorney? By the way, I have spoken to the landscaper from last year and he agrees that the bill is outrageous and would write a letter to this effect. Also, the man who actually did the mulching, but has since quit working for this landscaper due to failure to pay him wages of about $2,500, also would write a letter stating that he bought the mulch and it cost about $700. Please advise.
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Answered in 8 minutes by:
7/12/2013
Dimitry K., Esq.
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 41,221
Experience: Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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Thank you for your question. I am a licensed New Jersey professional.

Just to be clear, this person never once itemized or defined their charges to you?
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

No

Customer reply replied 4 years ago


No

Customer reply replied 4 years ago


Are you still there?

Customer reply replied 4 years ago


hello?

Customer reply replied 4 years ago
Relist: Other.
I am not getting an answer to my response to Dmitri's question.

Thank you for your follow-up.

Under New Jersey law a contractor or professional who maintains properties does have the ability to seek a lien against the property for labor and wages that he did not receive. Having said that, however, you have the ability and the right to demand a formal accounting. The issue is that most counties will still permit him to place a lien purely if he can show that there is an outstanding balance, but you would then be able to file against him and demand removal or seek damages.

Hope that helps.

PS. I am still here, I was typing out your response.

Dimitry K., Esq.
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 41,221
Experience: Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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Dimitry K., Esq. and 87 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago


Sounds like my choices are to pay the bill in full, or hire an attorney to deal with this. Do you agree?

Thank you for your follow-up.

I would agree with that. You can attempt to fight this on your own, but then removing the lien and expense of litigation would likely outweigh the funds you would be able to get back from this business. This is a situation where the costs may be outweighed by simply paying the inflated bill and never dealing with this person again.

Good luck.

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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
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41,221 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.

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