What can I do to show that contractor has filed a false lien while also making them pay me the cost to fix their wor fi

11 months ago

A contractor has filed a lien on my property in sc for approx 3500. I had to hire another contractor to fix some damaged base and drywall for 1500 which the contractor had previously agreed to pay which would have brought the total payment owed to 2000.00. In addition to agreeing to pay for this work, he also agreed to come back and fix some deficient work (footprints and scuffs left on finished floor, dents left in floor from sanding machine, swirl marks left on floor from improper sanding). When I sent an email explaining what was agreed, told him he would be responsible for cleaning up and protecting finished areas in my house while the punchlist work was being completed and also that his final payment would not be issued until he fixed the deficient work, he then refused to communicate with me any further saying I was being unreasonable and that he was going to file a lien. Not once did he deny the deficient work was his responsibility to correct. After he threatened me with the lien I informed him that I would be contacting others to complete his deficient work at his expense. After several weeks I get notice that a lien is being filed for 3500. Question- I want to take this guy to court or small claims court for the total cost it would take to fix his deficient items we previously agreed on and also the costs to fix all other deficiencies that I was previously going to accept. These costs will exceed the 3500 and may exceed the total original contract amount. What do I need to show to support my costs, to show the deficient work is the subs responsibility (wood flooring sub), and can I charge them for my time – meeting with new subs, putting together estimates, etc…

Senior Legal Associate Levelset
474 reviews

During a construction dispute, particularly one that will be going to court, it’s crucial to keep tabs of all relevant documentation, communications, etc. Copies of the contract, all invoices, checks, texts, emails – anything in writing that can help paint a clear picture of the situation will be invaluable if the dispute makes its way into a courtroom.

As for proving the amount of time spent on coordinating replacement contractors and repair work – that will likely be harder to prove. But, copies of all communication with third parties and any relevant documentation would be helpful there, too.

Keep in mind, though – it’s typically a good idea to be relatively conservative when making claims for costs that are hard to prove. This is particularly true when the hard-to-verify costs pale in comparison to the other amounts at dispute. Overstating a claim in this area could work to undermine the other claims being made.

For the most clarity on how to move forward, it’d be wise to reach out to a local construction attorney – they’ll be able to give you advice on how to proceed with your claim, and they can review the documentation you’ve got on hand and help create a plan of attack.

Additional resources

Finally, I think these resources might be valuable:

– A Mechanics Lien Was Filed on My Property – What Do I Do Now?
– Frivolous Mechanics Liens: Intentionally Fraudulent vs. Honest Mistakes

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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