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work performed instead of paying rent far outweighs what i would have paid. do i have any recourse to recover this overage amount?

Utah

built an addition, was allowed free rent during construction + other benefits with an verbal agreement. we have had a falling out with the owner now that the project is nearing completion and the owner no longer recgonizes work that was completed and is not adhering to our agreement. Can i recover the amount for the project? wages, and materials? the property owner was his own primary contracter. I provided all labour, and some material.

1 reply

Aug 9, 2019
In Utah, a potential mechanics lien claimant must provide preliminary notice in order to retain lien rights. All parties are required to send a preliminary notice, which should generally be given within 20 days of first furnishing labor and/or materials to a construction project, and filed via the State Construction Registry (SCR). If that time period has passed, a late notice can be partially effective. But, a party who files a late preliminary notice may not claim a lien for any work done prior to 5 days after the date on which the preliminary notice is filed. For example, if a preliminary notice was filed on August 5, (more than 20 days after the claimant’s first furnishing of labor or materials) that claimant only has lien rights for work performed after August 10. In the event a mechanics lien is not applicable to secure the money owed, there may be other methods to recover the amounts due. A lawsuit for breach of a verbal contract, or for unjust enrichment or detrimental reliance may be something worth exploring. However, parties performing work on residential property may be required to be licensed, and a lack of license could preclude some recovery efforts. This is a difficult situation, especially with no written agreement related to the work provided. If the amount at issue is enough that a engaging a lawyer to take a look at all of the specific facts seems worth it, it is likely a good idea. Also, it may be worth exploring filing a complaint in small claims court, if the expense of lawyers and the time of a full-blown trial is unappealing or not wirth it.
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