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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>I entered into a verbal contract with company doing aerial construction for Grande Communications. The contractor has equipment of mine and wont uphold the agreement. I have spent personal money that should be reimbursed and done work that he wont pay. what can i do legally

I entered into a verbal contract with company doing aerial construction for Grande Communications. The contractor has equipment of mine and wont uphold the agreement. I have spent personal money that should be reimbursed and done work that he wont pay. what can i do legally

TexasConstruction ContractMechanics LienPayment Disputes

I'm in Texas trying to start small aerial construction company. Took a verbal agreement with company that stated: He would cover housing for two crews, supply trucks fuel equipment and pay us per foot on install, footage price on tree trim and set price to move or make ready at set price. I have email stating pricing.

1 reply

Feb 28, 2018
There are a number of potential options to move forward. First, verbal contracts are typically enforceable just as written contracts are. What's more, any texts or emails that contain written correspondence about the agreement can also be helpful - especially when something finite like pricing is contained in the correspondence. Of course, best practice will always be to put every contract in writing. Anyway, one option will be to threaten (or file) a mechanics lien. By filing a mechanics lien, a claimant encumbers the property which can create serious issues for an owner. Often, an owner or a GC will do whatever it takes to keep a project free and clear of liens, and even the mere threat of filing a mechanics lien is regularly enough to speed up payments. Mechanics liens are available for those who go unpaid after providing construction work, so a lien in the amount unpaid could be an option. To preserve mechanics lien rights in Texas, a claimant must jump through a number of hoops (namely, notice and deadline requirements), and the requirements will vary depending on the project type. Here's a resource that will clear up the notice requirements that must be adhered to in order to file a Texas lien: In Texas Construction, One Notice is Not Enough. There are other options beyond a mechanics lien, too. First, a demand for payment and the return of any equipment can be made. For extra force, hiring legal counsel for the sole purpose of sending a demand letter might also be an option. Threatening suit is often an effective measure when a payment dispute is ongoing. If the amount of the dispute is small enough, going to small claims court could also be a route worth entertaining. There, legal outcomes can be achieved without the steep costs of litigation. Finally, sending a Notice of Intent to Lien is another option. By sending a Notice of Intent to Lien up the chain, other parties will become aware of the payment dispute and will know that if the dispute is not resolved, a lien might be filed. As a result, owners and GCs may call for the swift resolution of the dispute. Since a Notice of Intent to Lien is not a required or filed document in Texas, it may be sent even if there is some question as to whether lien rights will ultimately be available.
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