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A contractor did some work outside my vacant house which was…

A contractor did some...

A contractor did some work outside my vacant house which was on the market, then called my agent demanded payment. My agent and I were unaware of the work being done and told them so. They showed paperwork saying an agent contracted them, the name of whom we did not know. Now the contractor threatened to put a lien on my house or go back and destroy the driveway that they put in if I don't pay half. Do I have the obligation to pay, and do they have the right to come and destroy the driveway at my property?

Lawyer's Assistant: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

I am in Virginia

Lawyer's Assistant: Has any paperwork been filed?

Not on my behalf b/c I didn't know anything until now

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

The contractor told me they went to court because the agent who engaged them sent them two checks, both of which are not real

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Answered in 1 minute by:
3/13/2018
legalgems
legalgems, Arbitrator
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 13,964
Experience: Just Answer consultant at Self employed
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Hello! I will be reviewing your question and posting a response momentarily; if you have any follow up questions please respond here. Thanks!

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Is the third party agent's identity known?

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
a person named ***** *****

Thank you;

Here is the code that allows a contractor to file a mechanic's lien:

https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title43/chapter1/section43-3/

You will see that this requires authorization by the homeowner or his/her agent otherwise the filing of a lien may be challenged.

If a third party was not authorized to order work on a home the third party can be legally liable for the unauthorized request.

A contractor may sue under the basis of quantum meruit -basically for the value of the services/products rendered; but that typically requires a showing that the owner knew of the work and sat by while it was being performed. The court will find an implied contract in such cases.

However if there was no knowledge and no authorization generally the court will not allow relief.

If a person trespasses on property they can be liable for any damage so if anything is removed the contractor may actually be liable for the value of replacing the work. It is possible to seek a restraining order against the contractor so they are not able to access the property. An injunction is enforceable by the court's contempt powers.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
The contractor came to my private resident twice, the first time saying they are looking for work, asked all kinds of questions which I had no answer for. They must be satisfied that I did not order the work, so they came back another time asking for payment. I told them I would be willing to pay a third of the fee, which was over $9,000, he became angry and that's when he said he'd come and destroy the work he'd done, or put a lien on my house. Now I don't feel like I should pay b/c I am afraid that they will use my signature and payment as proof of my guilt. While compassionate, I don't want to be taken. Should I pay?

Unfortunately I cannot provide a certain course of action and may only provide information pursuant to the terms of the site.

If the contractor files a lien for unauthorized work it may be challenged based on no authorization but that will put a cloud on the title in the process, making it difficult to sell (most buyers will not buy when there is an unresolved issue).

If the contractor goes to court to collect the contractor has the burden of proof of establishing a contract (oral, written or implied).

If one wishes to make partial payment a release can be used to limit liability (ie a signed statement stating that the payment is in full satisfaction and any claims will be released.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Thank you!A different question: This is my first time using this online service, I am signing out now, but have question about returning to this. Please tell me how to connect with you in the future.

You are most welcome.

Once you log back in I believe the "Ask a question" prompt will appear. You can request me specifically by putting To Legal Gems in front of the question.

If you have any difficulties customer service will be able to assist (ww2.justanswer.com/help) as I don't have access to your account as I am an individual contributor.

legalgems
legalgems, Arbitrator
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 13,964
Experience: Just Answer consultant at Self employed
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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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