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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>As a handyman, if the owner wants a repair done differently than you advise, is the home owner responsible for the outcome?

As a handyman, if the owner wants a repair done differently than you advise, is the home owner responsible for the outcome?

California

The bathroom faucet is leaking in more than one place, I recommend replacing the faucet with a new one. The homeowner wants me to go find parts to rebuild the old one. Also, the drain at the base of the sink is leaking. I disassemble the drain and repair that part of the project in 50 minutes. Doesn't leak, great repair. Home Depot doesn't have correct valve parts for this Delta faucet, after searching through large selection. Then to Lowes, And find exact parts needed. This two handled faucet is tough to repair, I have one side done and start on the other side, when the owner comes out to the garage, angry, yelling at me, Is there a problem, whats taking so long! With 5 hours in the job, over 2 of those hours finding the right parts, I was close to finishing the rebuild. I thought I was performing well. Is the owner responsible for paying me? He now says I am no longer welcome in his home to finish the project. I have done several jobs for him in the past with great results. It would have been quick to replace the faucet with a new on like I suggested in the beginning. How can I collect my money? $200 labor $28 materials. Thanks for your help, Kurt

1 reply

Nov 19, 2018
I'm sorry to hear about that. If work was performed and materials were purchased at the direction of a property owner, that owner is likely on the hook for the work and materials provided - even when they decide to terminate a job before it is complete. However, collecting unpaid amounts can be tricky. When the sums to be recovered are particularly small, the options for recovery may depend upon what the claimant is willing to spend on recovering those funds. One cheap option may be to send a formal demand for payment stating that, if payment isn't made, further legal action will be taken. Of course, the effectiveness of such a notice could be moot considering the low amount of money in dispute. Another option could be to send a Notice of Intent to Lien. A Notice of Intent to Lien informs the property owner that if payment isn't made and made soon a mechanics lien will be filed on the property. While actually filing a lien can cost a few hundred dollars, sending a Notice of Intent to Lien is a cheaper option - and a free, downloadable version of that form can be found here: California Notice of Intent to Lien Form. Finally, another cheap option for recovery could be small claims court. When a claim in small claims court does not exceed $1,500, the claim can be filed for $30 in small claims court. For more background on that option, this website from Department of Consumer Affairs should be helpful: Basic Considerations and Questions of Small Claims Court. At the end of the day, considering the amounts at issue, the ability to recover unpaid sums could largely rely on what methods the claimant is willing to use - and the threat of legal action is always cheaper than actually taking that legal action. Good luck!
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