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Ask Ely Your Own Question
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 102146
Experience:  Qualified attorney in private practice including business, family, criminal, and real estate issues.
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I need ome advice from some attorney that knows Maine real

Customer Question

i need ome advice from some attorney that knows Maine real estate law
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Maine
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: Is is possible to talk on phone
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I closed on a new construction on Monday and I had a mason who did my fireplace and I had no contract with him and he never gave me a price just a bill at the end. He used a mantel that did not go all the way across and left holes in the wall I told him I was very unhappy about the work. he agreed he didnt think it looked good either and said he would cut it out and we would do a wood mantel. He gave me a bill of $3,400 I told him that was way more then It should be especially since It was done wrong. I paid him $1,000 the day before the closing he came into the house with no permission and cut the mantel out after the space had been cleaned. Now it was covered with mason dust. Now there was no matel and the final inspector was coming next day. My builder put a temporary piece of wood on the top to pass inspection. I closed on Monday and the next day he filed a lien. The title company called me today and said they cant record the deed. I had no contract with him, and now I have no mantel and they are saying they cant record deed unless he is paid.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Ely replied 8 months ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. 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.

I am sorry to hear about this situation. This is not actually real estate law, but falls more under consumer protection / general contract area of law.

Anyhow, what can I answer for you in regards ***** ***** please?

This is not an answer, but an information request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I closed on the property on Monday and now the title company called me and said on Tuesday this mason filed a lien for $2,400 and they cant record my deed
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I have no contract with him and he left the job unfinished.
Expert:  Ely replied 8 months ago.

Okay, I understand. What is it that you are asking? For example:

1) Can I make him take the lien off?

2) Can I still record the deed somehow?

3) Can I sue him for the unfinished job?

4) A combination of the above or something else?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
The title company is saying they cant record the deed with this lien on.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
How can that be when we have no contract and the job is not finished and I signed all the closing docs on Monday
Expert:  Ely replied 8 months ago.
Was the mason a sub-contractor?
Or were they a contractor that you simply had an oral agreement with?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
He was not a sub contractor. he was someone who I had a verbal however he never gave me a price and I did not sign a contract with him
Expert:  Ely replied 8 months ago.
Thank you.
1) Even if there was no contract in writing, there was a verbal contract and this is evident by the work he did. So one can still enforce the contract.
2) A contractor who is not paid can place a lien on the property. This is what he did.
3) However, he also did a very bad job. He can - it may be argued - breached contract himself. Breach of contract may be minor, or material. A minor breach is substandard performance but one that does not cancel the contract. A material breach goes to the "heart" of the matter wherein the performance is so bad, or nonexistent, that it validates the other party walking away from the contract. Is it a minor or material breach? The Court would decide based on the following subjective factors:
1. The extent to which the injured party will be deprived of an expected benefit
2. The extent to which the party can be adequately compensated.
3. The extent to which the breaching party will suffer forfeiture.
4. The likelihood that the breaching party will cure their failure
5. The good faith of the breaching party.
So if he did a very bad job, he materially breached contract, allowing someone in your situation not to pay. If he did a poor job but "enough," then one may be ordered to be paid a little but not the whole amount owed.
4) The problem is that it is presumed that he did a good job until proven otherwise.
5) The way to do this is to one of two ways:
1. File a special filing in Court to challenge the lien itself, only, arguing that he did a bad job and should not be paid. This would be a "quick" case; or
2. File a SLANDER OF TITLE case which is essentially a major suit, where someone places a cloud on title without reason. This is more serious, but also may allow for more damages.
Perhaps a letter threatening to do either to the contractor may have them consider rescinding the lien.
Good luck.
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