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work not performed as agreed but threatens to sue

CaliforniaPayment DisputesRight to Lien

I had an unlicensed person go into my house to a complete a job and provide accurate report in CA on a water issue and HVAC. He said all work for $300 repairs plus report with pics and $35/hr. It was no contract just oral we argued and got it to $275 for all work and accurate report with pics. He came out in 10 mins and did not give me an accurate report, hid facts and plus did not work on the HVAC just poked it and next day another inspector went in and reported work not done. I am still offering to pay $35/he per his ask and extra $20 as compensation to turn a hot water valve on ON. He threatens to sue and put a lien etc. Am I obligated to pay more and can he do this to us?

1 reply

Jul 16, 2018
I'm sorry to hear about that. In California, if licensing is required for certain work, the party performing that work had better be licensed. First, a lien claim may not be validly filed if the party filing the lien is unlicensed (and required to be licensed). That's not to say a lien filing cannot occur - recorders offices often lack both the bandwidth and the authority to scrutinize all filed documents. But if an improper or invalid lien is filed, it may be challenged and could be removed due to a lack of licensure. Further, when a party has not performed the work set out in their contract, a lien claim would probably still be invalid regardless of licensure. Other remedies beyond a lien claim - such as contract claims or unjust enrichment claims - are also unavailable to parties who lack necessary licensure. In fact, contractors who lack necessary licensure may even be required to pay back any sums received. Ultimately, though, considering this dispute is for such a nominal amount, it might be wise to negotiate and resolve the dispute while avoiding a legal standoff.
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