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Who owes me money the tenent or the realestate company or am i just out of luck

CaliforniaConstruction ContractPayment Disputes

I contracted with a elderly lady to remodel her bath room i thought she was the owner she signed the contract as the owner . We completed the work and she did not pay her final bill. I sued her in small claims court got a judgement but i later found out she did not owne the property and was only renting (she spent close to 30K) how do i get the 4k she owes me?

2 replies

Sep 7, 2017
The person who signed the contract with you owes you the money by contract law. It appears that you got a judgment against the lady, and therefore, you can collect from this lady. You can try to seize any of her assets in the collection effort. However, if she does not actually own any real property or land...including, but not limited to the land where you installed the bathroom...then you can't take action against the land. She doesn't own it, your judgment is against her, and you can only enforce your judgment against stuff she owns.

IF you were to have filed a mechanics lien at the start, the mechanics lien would have allowed you to foreclose against the property and the property owner where the work was performed. You were required to have filed the lien, though, and there's no going back. If you didn't file the lien (and you don't still have time), then you're not going to be able to recover against the property and the true property owner.

I'm presuming, by the way, that you don't still have time because I assume going through small claims court took longer than the lien period, which in California is 90 days from the end of a construction project.
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Sep 7, 2017
Scott's right on here. The party that owes you money is the party that contracted to owe you money for work you performed. The fact that she didn't own the property is irrelevant to that fact - it just might have something to do with what you can recover against.

Scott's also right that a mechanics lien would have opened up alternative avenues for recovery - and would likely be a good option to explore for future projects.
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