Do I have any other options to collect on money due?

2 weeks ago

I completed a residential job for a customer. I have not been paid and they have sold the property. As of today, too much time has passed for me to place a lien on the property, as per the sites time line. Is there anything I can do to collect any money on that project or is it a lost cause?

Senior Legal Associate Levelset
355 reviews

If the deadline to file a mechanics lien has passed, then payment recovery will typically be a bit harder. However, there are a number of payment recovery options outside of the mechanics lien process – and your customer isn’t off the hook just because they’ve sold the property. So, I’d hardly say the debt is a lost cause.

Recovering construction payments after the mechanics lien deadline has passed

For one, invoice reminders might be enough to prod the customer into paying what’s owed. If you have their address, their email, or their phone – you may be able to send them invoice reminders and push them to pay what’s owed.

Alternatively, turning up the heat a bit could be effective too. Sending a payment demand letter that includes specific legal threats (like breach of contract claims or claims under CA’s prompt payment/retainage laws) could force the customer to pay you what you’re owed. Demand letters should include a deadline by when payment must be made – and that can add a sense of urgency.

Finally, keep in mind that legal claims will be on the table like the ones mentioned above. And, if legal claims do become necessary, then consulting with a California construction attorney would be wise to explore what options will be best suited for you. Further, for smaller disputes, small claims court could streamline recovery and avoid steep costs. And, finally – keep in mind that placing the debt with a collection agency could result in payment, too.

Disclaimer: The information presented here is not legal advice and should not be construed as such. Rather, this content is provided for informational purposes. Do not act on this information as if it is advice. Further, this post does not create any attorney-client relationship. If you do need legal advice, seek the help of a local attorney.
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