Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>Can Contractor/Vendor file a lawsuit & put a lien on our condo for not paying $79 for service call that was supposed to be free.

Can Contractor/Vendor file a lawsuit & put a lien on our condo for not paying $79 for service call that was supposed to be free.

TexasMechanics LienRight to Lien

We just had new AC Unit installed in our condo & paid $3500, wasn't installed properly, had to be fixed once already - no fee. Still under warranty, the air flow was not good since installed. Made appointment for tech to come out and was assured there is no charge, since the unit is still under warranty. Problem was not fixed, we put in our new lighter filter in hope it will help while the tech was here(the current filter was less then 30 days in the unit) & we are being charged $79 for pretty much changing a filter that didn't need to be even changed. We don't want to pay the fee & Contractor is threatening us to put lien on our condo. There is nothing in writing, just assurance over the phone there won't be a charge. Now he claims it cost him money for gas to come out no matter what. Two completely different stories. Please can you advise us what are our rights? Can they sue us & put lien on our condo? Do we have to pay the fee? It's not the cost but the principle, dishonesty, threats, insults the way they treat us and nothing was accomplished. Thank you!

1 reply

Oct 19, 2018
i'm sorry you have found yourself in a situation in which you feel like you are being taken advantage of, and that parties are acting dishonestly.

The short(er) answer is that *can* they attempt to file a lien or initiate a lawsuit is a different question than whether they are entitled to a valid and enforceable lien, or would be successful in a lawsuit. Parties can attempt to file liens in many situations in which a lien may not be the appropriate (or even an allowable) remedy, but there are still occasions on which such liens get recorded. People file lawsuits all the time that they are unlikely to ever win.

Filing a lawsuit to recover $79 is not a very practical or likely solution, even in the event that the money was due. And, I don't know of any attorney who would be excited or willing to make such a claim.

Liens have all kinds of specific requirements that must be met both before a valid lien may be claimed, and that apply to the lien claim itself. In Texas, there are very strict requirements in order to file a lien on a homestead property (generally an owner-occupied residential property). To claim a lien on such a property, there must be a written contract with the property owner (signed prior to any work occurring, and signed by both spouses if the property owner is married), and the contract must be recorded with the county recorder for the county in which the property is located.

Additionally, there are timing requirements associated with liens as well. A lien against a residential property must be filed by the 15th day pf the third month after the claimant last furnished labor or material to the project - warranty or punch-list work, however, generally does not extend this deadline.
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