Let me explain the situation. I painted an entire interior of a home for a customer who lives in Australia.

3 months ago

I have a contract on the Job. He owes me $3,900.00 . I have before and after photos of the work done and it was done right. The house has water damage causing the 40yr old popcorn ceiling to crack (8 inch crack). The painting of the ceiling caused the crack to expand 3-4 inches wider . Home owner trying to blame me for his ceiling crack. Fixing this crack was not in the contract. Owner also complaining about a rust spot coming through the new paint. (a 5 min. fix)
His Emails indicate that he does not plan on paying me in full or possibly not at all.
I imagine he will try to talk me into accepting way less than he owes me.
Can I accept partial payment and then go after him w a lean for the rest? I he makes me sign something to let him off the full payment can I sue for blackmail?
If I don’t accept what his offer is I may not ever get anything out of him if he diappears into australia.
Thank You for your time!
Bob Blair

Attorney and Owner The Storrs Law Firm
45 reviews

I just had to respond to this one. International intrigue…blackmail…

Its dicey to accept partial payment and then try to go after the rest; the owner can claim that you reached a compromise and settlement.

Its better, if you want the dollars in hand, to cut the best deal you can in exchange for a lien release.

Filing an lien and possibly needing to file a lawsuit for $3900 or a lesser amount is not advisable unless you cannot get him to pay at all. The length of time it will take to go down that road, and the costs of pursuing him, would be prohibitive.

If he won’t settle, then you have no choice but to file a lien. You must timely send a notice of intent to lien at least 10 days before the lien is filed. The lien must be filed in most cases within 4 months, but you should verify this based on the particular facts involved, since sometimes that deadline is shortened to 2 months.

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