Builder Lien on Home Question

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Posted by: from Edmonton
8/14/2013 at 10:09:35 PM


I recently got a contractor to supply materials and build a fence on my property and he has placed a lien on my home.

Long story short is that the driller that was supplied by the contractor damaged the landscaping on the property. I called the contractor immediately to address this issue before any more work was to continue. The contractor agreed he would reimburse me the costs to fix the landscaping.

The fence was completed and the contractor sent me the bill (no official invoice, just emailed me the price). I asked the contractor if he would deduct the cost of the landscaping from the total bill and he agreed (although he thought the bill was too much). I paid the contractor the agreed upon price which included his bill minus the cost to fix the landscaping. A couple days go by and he requests that I pay him the remaining balance as the landscaping costs to fix the property seemed excessive in his opinion. A couple more days go by and I receive a letter in the mail stating that my property has a lien on it for 450 dollars.

It should be noted that the day after I met with the contractor I sent him the invoice from my landscaper with the extra charge (450) to fix my landscaping. He has had this invoice for nearly 2 weeks before he completed the fence.

There is no written contract (I asked for one on many occasions) and I have verbal and email messages that say he would reimburse me for the landscaping cost and and that he agreed to the new price.

I am wondering what I should do?

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Chris from CJW Renovations in Napanee
Date/Time8/14/2013 at 11:17:33 PM


Just a quick question what city/province are you located in?

The best thing to do is explain to him that he is in the wrong. He already agreed to pay that amount, and to remove the lien off your house or you will file a Complaint with revenue Canada, as you never received an official bill, and that you will take him to small claims court,

If he ignores you and the lien is not removed, simple go down to the court house pay the 100$ to file a lawsuit against him, and sue him for 750$ (Lost time to go to court, court cost, and the lien) there are no lawyers in small claims court, show the judge your paper work (Emails) and you will win, then you can pay the lien off with his money. but more then likely after you file he will want to remove the lien, tell him thats fine to remove it and provide you with the 200$ in court cost and lost time before you remove he lawsuit.

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time8/15/2013 at 9:36:39 PM

Shame that home owners are learning hard lessons about not getting contracts signed. You wouldn't buy a car or home witrhout a contract and most reno's are in that area of pricing.

Be sure to get a contract in some form of writing (even email) and see him in small claims. It can really prove how unprofessional a company is by them claiming no contract is really needed.

Sounds like someone may be trying to sneak around the HST as well.

Court will sort it out and you can flag him at the city where he is registered as a business (if he is) and contact the CRA to verify his company is legit.

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Date/Time8/26/2013 at 10:05:12 AM


You got stiffed by a poor contractor. Damages are his responsibility, do not pay him! The lien will run out in 6 mos, then forget about him. He does have 30 days to sue you. Let him since he has to pay all application fees and send you a notice. On the notice there is a section for you to counter sue, do it for free! And then have your day in court. If you have docs, pictures etc. you will win!.

Patience is the key, then never hire the cheapest guy, get a contract in writing and check several references next time!!

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Date/Time9/16/2013 at 2:40:31 PM


Sorry to read about the problem you encountered.

The first thing I will do is make a general comment. When hiring a contractor of any kind. Look for someone with a good reputation. someone who can provide referals, this means you don't just look for the cheapest price. Generaly in life, you get what you pay for.

Now to your problem, You can choose to ignor him and in about six months it will go away. Or if you have the time, and some evidence, I would go down to the court and launch a law suite against him for the time and money his false lien has caused you. That is assuming you have documentation. Even if it is the emails back and forth while settling on a price for the fence work etc. And hopefully at least an email regarding the damage caused by the subcontractor that drilled the holes.

Take a letter from your landscaper to the court when you file as well.

Good Luck.

And to all that read this,

Please go for quality and reputation when looking for a trade or contractor, not just the cheapest price.

That old saying is so get what you pay for.

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Date/Time3/27/2014 at 4:53:53 PM


It's a would've should've could've case. Knowing what I know now, if I were you I would've filed a claim with my homeowners insurance the second the damage happened then dropped it only if the contractor assured me in writing to pay for the damages or fix it to my satisfaction.

But that ship has sailed.

James is right, the lien will expire in 6 months unless your contractor sues you. If he doesn't you're in the clear; if he sues you, based on your documents, emails, txt messages, etc you can file a counter suit, for free. Most likely he'll never pursue the case and if he does, based on the evidence you have and the lack of a written contract on his part, he will loose the case.

Have patience, in 6 months it will be over. And, next time make sure to sign a contract first.

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