Not receiving payment

8 months ago

Im a laborer who was hired by a man I know to refinish a rental property with him. There was no paperwork just a verbal promise of payment after job completion. After he was paid for the job he said he would meet to pay me. Its been 2 weeks and now he says hes not going to pay me. I reached out to the property owner and they told me not to contact them and they dont want to hear it. What can I do to receive payment for the 80 hours i put into this job?

Senior Legal Associate Levelset
472 reviews

When unpaid for construction work in Michigan, there are a few different options that could be useful in recovering payment – including sending demand letters, sending Notice of Intent to Lien, or even pursuing a mechanics lien claim or legal claims. Let’s look at these options piece by piece.

Demand letters

If a customer and owner aren’t taking your debt seriously, escalating things with a demand letter might help. Sending a demand for payment which sets a hard deadline and threatens legal action can go a long way to show others on the job that you’re serious about getting paid and won’t be ignored.

Notice of Intent to Lien

Taking things a step further and threatening to file a mechanics lien claim is another move that could lead to payment. A document like a Notice of Intent to Lien will let recipients know that nonpayment won’t be tolerated and that a mechanics lien will soon be filed if payment isn’t made. And, sending the notice to both the property owner and the customer who failed to make payment can put additional pressure on the customer to take the threat seriously.

Filing a mechanics lien

Filing a mechanics lien might be the most powerful way to force payment for construction work. A mechanics lien will put the property title in jeopardy and force an owner and/or customer to do something about the payment dispute. Though, there are some important deadline and notice regulations that must be taken into account before pursuing a lien claim.

You can learn more about those here:

– Michigan Mechanics Lien Guide and FAQs
– How to File A Michigan Mechanics Lien – Step By Step Guide To Get You Paid

Other legal claims could be on the table, too – like a breach of contract claim, or a claim under a theory like unjust enrichment. And, for disputes under $6,000, pursuing the debt in Michigan small claims court against the customer could be an option, too.

Disclaimer: The information presented here is not legal advice and should not be construed as such. Rather, this content is provided for informational purposes. Do not act on this information as if it is advice. Further, this post does not create any attorney-client relationship. If you do need legal advice, seek the help of a local attorney.
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