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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33543
Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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My house got t by hail storm recent in Wylie, Texas and a

Customer Question

my house got hit by hail storm recent in Wylie, Texas and a contractor came to did an initial water restoration work to the house, since my house is fully covered by the insurance, the contractor filled a claim on behalf of me to the insurance for a bill closing to $20K, I didn't know much the contractor can charge for this kind work and I signed his invoice to insurance. Now insurance reviewed his bill and determined to pay only a little over $11k. Now the contractor threatens me that my insurance doesn't pay full amount of his invoice and I signed on his invoice, he will put a lien on my house. Can he puts a lien on my house for this case? The key point of this is, the contractor didn't tell me the price
for this emergency work in the front, just gave an invoice after the work is done and asked me to sign his invoice so he can submit to the insurance. the contractor told me he is the one who is responsible for resolving the discrepancy with the insurance for his claim. He asked me to put some money using my credit card in the front for him to start to work on my house. and he promised me in writing if he can not resolving the billing discrepancy with the insurance he will refund me the different between the amount i already paid with my credit card and the final amount the insurance determines to pay for the claim because he is working for insurance proceeding. Now the difference amount is about $4000 which i overpaid to him. Now i am asking him to refund the difference as he promised in writing, he refuses to refund me anything and instead he threatens me to fill a lien on my house. OK, can he do that?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

Can he puts a lien on my house for this case?

This is a really, really common ploy of contractors in Texas, particularly those that are "storm chasers". While he can put a lien on the house, that just requires him filing some papers, if you then sue him the court will strike it and likely award you your attorney's fees.

Please ask any additional questions in this thread. I want to be sure that all of your questions are answered.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
he can file a lien just based on my signature on his fake invoice? then how much i need to spend on attorney fee for getting lien lifted?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

Yes, they can. It's dishonest and you can get their licenses suspended, sue them for fraud, etc.

Attorney's fees vary tremendously across the state. My guess is $3500 or so but it could be higher. You could get that awarded back to you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
i probably don't have $3500 or more to pay the lawyer in front, even i can get this amount awarded to me i probably can not collect it from the contractor, right?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

It's hard sometimes. However, you can get the license suspended and maybe even get them arrested for fraud.

You may be able to get Legal Aid to help or if you look around there may be a lawyer that will do it for less, plus a piece of whatever the judge awards. There are lots of lawyers looking for work now.

Another solution is to go and get a local attorney now to send a letter to this guy advising him of all the potential ramifications if he continues. That usually works and will only cost $100 or so.

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

But you have to do that now, before he files anything.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK, if that contractor files a lien on my house, it is a Mechanics Lien, right? he has to sue me based on the lien for payment within 12 months, since the contractor knows his lien is completely bogus, he probably will not sue me, the lien will die after 12 months, right?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

Yes, that would be the kind of lien, technically it is usually called a "Mechanics and Materialman's lien" but there are forms with a variety of names on them although they all do the same thing.

The lien is no longer valid if he doesn't sue but it will still be in the record and will cloud the title if you were to do anything which requires a policy of title insurance. They will require you to get the lien removed before they will issue the title insurance.