We signed a contract with a contractor to do a home remodel on my in-laws home. We do not hold any legal or equitable title or interest in the home. Is there anywhere where it states that a contract like this should be signed by the homeowner and not a party without legal rights, title or interest in the property? My in-laws are refusing to pay the last $11k and the contractor is suing my husband and myself in small claims court because we signed the contract and he feels that we should pay for the remaining balance. The contractor did not issue a 20-day preliminary notice of intent to lien. Thank you!

Answered 1 month ago

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Matt Viator

Legal Associate Levelset

That's an interesting question, and without a full understanding of the contract's contents as well as the surrounding circumstances, it's hard to know how an agreement might shake out. But, if one person signed a construction contract for improvement to someone else's property - the person who signed the contract will generally be bound to that contract. So, if payment isn't made as required, then that person may well be held responsible.

As for a 20-day notice - that notice is required in order to file a Utah mechanics lien against the project property, but it shouldn't have any effect on the ability to pursue and recover payment via legal action - such as a breach of contract.

Finally, as a general note - signing a contract under which some other party will make payment might not be disallowed, but it's typically not a great idea. One party's refusal to make payments, as planned, could cause the party who signed the contract to incur liability.

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