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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>I was asked to Venetian plaster for a friend in Washington state. We agreed up her paying me 10 per square ft. I did over 900 sq ft. Then she refused to pay me. What can I do?

I was asked to Venetian plaster for a friend in Washington state. We agreed up her paying me 10 per square ft. I did over 900 sq ft. Then she refused to pay me. What can I do?

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I was asked to Venetian plaster for a "friends" new home being built in Washington state. She is paying cash so she carries all the insurance and liability. We agreed upon payment of $10 per square foot . I completed 900 sq ft of work and then she refused to pay me. What can I do?

1 reply

Nov 26, 2018
I'm sorry to hear about that - I can't imagine how frustrating it must be for a "friend" to go back on their word. First, when construction work is performed and unpaid, typically, a mechanics lien will come to mind as a potential remedy. After all, mechanics liens are construction's most powerful remedy. However, in order to preserve the right to lien, certain notices must be sent (particularly, a Model Disclosure Statement) and certain requirements must be followed. You can learn more about the Washington lien and notice rules here: Washington Lien and Notice FAQ. Anyway, regardless of whether notices were sent, sending a Notice of Intent to Lien is another way to compel payment. It's essentially a lien warning - a Notice of Intent to Lien states that if payment isn't made soon, a mechanics lien will be filed on the job. Considering a lien is such a drastic option, often, an owner will be amenable to negotiating a resolution to prevent a lien filing. Finally, sending a demand letter that threatens specific legal action (such as breach of contract, unjust enrichment, or some other theory of recovery) can be a powerful tool. This is especially true when such a demand is sent via an attorney. Lastly, note that small claims court or traditional litigation can be effective - though claims in Washington small claims court cannot exceed $5,000, and litigation can be particularly risky. Before deciding on what to do, it could be very helpful to consult a local construction attorney. They will be able to review any relevant documentation or other information and advise you on how best to proceed. While attorneys can be expensive, choosing the wrong path for recovery can cost claimants even more.
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