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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>I am a home owner in California last summer I built a wall on which me and my neighbor had agreed to put in between the properties and the middle of the property line I paid for the wall out right at a cost of $50,000 is myself and a construction worker build the wall to Speck I am not a licensed contractor but the wall is built to spec for the city of Los Angeles my neighbor wants the wall was done refinance their house and now they are trying to sell I need to place a lien on their property as expediently as possible can you please help

I am a home owner in California last summer I built a wall on which me and my neighbor had agreed to put in between the properties and the middle of the property line I paid for the wall out right at a cost of $50,000 is myself and a construction worker build the wall to Speck I am not a licensed contractor but the wall is built to spec for the city of Los Angeles my neighbor wants the wall was done refinance their house and now they are trying to sell I need to place a lien on their property as expediently as possible can you please help

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I live in California I am not AY since contractor but I did build a 3' high brick wall at the length of 105 peat with wood fence on top myself in my neighbor had agreed to split the cost of said gate as well as tearing down the old gate which was ivy and Rhett and bested once I finished the gate my neighbor said that they didn't sign anything so the ergo they don't have to pay me they're trying to sell their house they used me to to build the gate so that they Could re. finance their house back in September

1 reply

May 21, 2018
This is an interesting situation. On one hand, when a California construction project exceeds $500, licensure is required. Without that licensure, the remedies typically available in the event on nonpayment won't be available - including mechanics lien claims, contract claims, or unjust enrichment claims. On the other hand, there is an exception to the licensure requirement for an owner-builder. An owner-builder is exempt from licensure when they do the work themselves, when they contract with properly licensed subcontractors, or the owner-builder contracts wth a General Building contractor. There are also exceptions and limitations that apply - you can read more on those here. Ultimately, it's possible that the owner-builder exception to California licensing requirements will not apply when there's an agreement to neighbors. Unfortunately, local licensing requirements are beyond our area of expertise. Reaching out to a local construction attorney familiar with California's licensing requirements would be helpful here. Also, avvo.com may be a helpful resource - they have helpful legal guides, and attorneys are available for questions of a litany of different legal topics. Before seeking legal remedy, though, a good initial step might be to send an official demand for payment. Sending a letter demanding payment and outlining why the debt is owed could convince a nonpaying party to pay what is due. Further, mentioning that legal action will be taken if payment isn't forthcoming could help to make such a demand letter more effective - as would sending the demand through an attorney. Finally, as mentioned above, there's a fair chance that the ability to recover unpaid sums could be affected (if not limited) by a lack of licensure.
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