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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>I recently did a job for a property management company where they were in such a hurry to get the job done that I did not get a contract signed however I did the job and now they want to pay me less they when I invoice them for what is my recourse?

I recently did a job for a property management company where they were in such a hurry to get the job done that I did not get a contract signed however I did the job and now they want to pay me less they when I invoice them for what is my recourse?

CaliforniaRecovery Options

I am a general contractor that did a job for a property manager. She was rushing me to pick up the doors and install them so that I can pass inspection under certain date however when I invoiced her for the work done she was refusing to pay the full amount she wants to pay what she wants to pay only which is less than the invoice,what is my recourse?

1 reply

Oct 30, 2018
I'm sorry to hear you've gone unpaid. When a party goes unpaid on a California construction project, there are a number of potential methods for recovery. For one, a mechanics lien may be the most powerful construction remedy out there. In California, a claimant does not need a written contract in order to file a lien - but notice is likely required. When a claimant was hired by someone other than the property owner, they must send notice to the owner, the prime contractor (aka the party hired directly by the property owner), and to the lender (if one is present). For claimants hired by the property owner, notice may still be required - notice must go to the lender, if one is present. This notice must be sent within 20 days of the claimant's first providing labor or materials to the project. However, when sent late, notice will still protect the 20 days preceding the notice - so a claimant may still secure partial protection. Before resorting to a mechanics lien, many claimants find that a Notice of Intent to Lien can go a long way toward compelling payment. A Notice of Intent to Lien acts as a warning - it states that, if payment isn't made soon, a lien will be filed. What's more, claimants have found a Notice of Intent to Lien can be effective regardless of whether the right to file a valid mechanics lien actually exists. Many claimants have also found that sending a Notice of Intent to Lien to both their customer and to the property owner can help put pressure on their customer to pay. Yet another option is to send a demand letter threatening specific legal action (such as breach of contract, unjust enrichment, or a claim under California's prompt payment laws, to name a few of many options). When a demand letter which specifies potential legal action, a customer is often more amenable to making payment. When sent through an attorney, these letters tend to carry a little more weight. Finally, small claims court or traditional litigation are both options for recovery, but they're both risky and litigation can be particularly expensive. Plus, depending on the claimant, the claim will be limited to either $10,000 or $5,000 - if the claim for payment exceeds the relevant limit, that claim can't be made (in full) in small claims court. Of course, these are just a handful of a number of potential options - and consulting a local construction attorney would be helpful. They will be able to review all relevant information and advise you on how to proceed,
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