Can I file a lien against someone’s house?
I was contracted for a large scale multi-destination move for $15,000. The contract was agreed to and signed on 10 February to be completed by 9 March. I received a deposit of $6,000 on 10 February. A couple of days later, he decided to change the terms of the contract, which we agreed would cost extra. I received an additional check for $2,500 on 14 February.
I completed the work as agreed upon on 9 March. I received a letter of appreciation from the owner (seller) of the building on 12 March. The reason for the move is the building is under contract to be sold. My client was a tenant and the new owner was not extending leases. I completed the move and sent the final invoice.
A condition of my contract was the form of the final payment. It was to be a transfer from one of his online stores (Amazon) to my checking account. The final payment was due on 10 March. On 14 March, I received a notification of the transfer of money from Amazon of $0.00.
I previously worked as operations for my client’s company. His company shrank over the period of a year while I worked for him before I quit. When I sent him the invoice for the final payment, he sent me an invoice for over $57,000. This came with a Microsoft Word style invoice and 800+ pages of a spreadsheet with dollar amounts, dates, and short descriptions. There was no contract for the invoice he sent me. I do have a signed employee agreement for the time I worked for him.
On 21 February, before the completion of the contract, he retained a lawyer because his landlord had their lawyer issue him a letter notifying him to vacate the premises. His lawyer told me the contract had been paid in full, which is obviously not true.
In turn, I retained a lawyer to ensure final payment and receive better guidance for completing the contract, since he continued to try and change the terms without additional signed documentation. Once my retainer was spent, I thought it best to evaluate my options.
The owner of the building (seller) said filing a claim of lien on the building since my client is no longer a tenant would be futile. I would like to file a lien against the real property of my client. He owns a house in NC and has a store in the mall in NC which holds inventory. I just need to know what my options are and the best way to apply the most pressure to him so he will settle on the invoice and I can focus on other work.