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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>Had an oral contract for a garage w door and now the construction guy is billing me additional 2000 for door and installation. His words were "buttoned up" for winter. Never picked out door which i would have if i was buying. Also price was 5000 over quote. He has notified of mechanics lien. Can i fight this

Had an oral contract for a garage w door and now the construction guy is billing me additional 2000 for door and installation. His words were "buttoned up" for winter. Never picked out door which i would have if i was buying. Also price was 5000 over quote. He has notified of mechanics lien. Can i fight this

MontanaConstruction ContractMechanics LienPayment Disputes

The guy never ever mentioned that we had to pay for garage door on garage he was bldg. For us. Why would we contract w him for a garage w/o a door

1 reply

Jul 17, 2018
I'm sorry to hear about that. First, it's worth noting that putting a contract in writing is an important step in preventing disputes by laying out exactly what work needs to take place and the cost of that work. Plus, when a dispute does arise, a written contract prevents it from turning into a "he said, she said" affair. Anyway, the Montana mechanics lien statute does not appear to disallow mechanics liens resulting from a verbal contract. Regarding the amount of a Montana lien filing, a lien may be filed "for the unpaid part of the person’s contract price" under § 71-3-526 of Montana's mechanics lien statute. The statute also attempts to clarify what exactly the "contract price" means. Under § 71-3-522 of Montana's lien statute, the "contract price" is complicated. It means: "the amount agreed upon by the contracting parties for performing services and furnishing materials covered by the contract, increased or diminished by: (i) the price of change orders or extras; (ii) any amounts attributable to altered specifications; or (iii) a breach of contract, including but not limited to defects in workmanship or materials. (b) If a price is not agreed upon by the contracting parties, the contract price means the reasonable value of all services or materials covered by the contract." Unfortunately, that definition does not provide much clarity. There is room for argument - on both sides - as to what should constitute the "contract price". But this principal typically applies: if work was performed and not paid for, the amount that is owed and unpaid will often give rise to lien rights. Ultimately, determining what is actually owed and what may be liened may be decided in litigation (if this dispute comes to that point). In the meantime, it would likely be wise to consult a local construction attorney and to provide them with all relevant facts, documentation, and communications regarding the dispute - especially if a mechanics lien filing has occurred. They'll be able to assess the situation and advise on how to move forward.
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