Lein on House

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Posted by: from Acton
9/14/2012 at 5:19:56 PM

I had some work done on my house recently by a contractor and thier final bill was almost double the inital agreed upon work. I have not been given the details (time and materials) and want to investigate why the extra costs but the contractor is putting a lein on my house. What is my recourse? I am willing to paid the agreed upon budget (+10%) but not double. Please Help!


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Date/Time9/14/2012 at 10:21:41 PM


I am really sorry to hear about this guy doing this to you, I think it is totally wrong the way contractors do this that's why at Aurora Rubber Flooring we give you price up front and if its more well that's our fault. If you are short on tiles or product you will only be charged for material which you would have to agree on not labor and so on.

Unless this guy has a copy of extras he has bought for you I think he has a case but if not if only labor unless you agreed on that extra cost in writing I think you should take it to court and fight it.

He can't just charge you extra for something you didn't agree on.

Hope all works out and again sorry for guys like this

Aurora Rubber Flooring Inc

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Date/Time9/14/2012 at 10:26:02 PM

Hi Kerry,

Before your contractor began the work, did he/she have you sign an agreement that outlined the estimated cost of your project and furthur explain the time & materials billing? If not, you certainly have a case.

While time & material billing can often result in lower initial costs to the customer, it's absolutely imperative that clear, open and on-going communication is kept throughout the entire project to ensure this type of issue doesn't arise.


Steve Soper, Owner

Mr. Handyman of Richmond Hill and Southwest Markham

Phone: 289-203-1150

Fax: 289-203-1151

346 Newkirk Road., Unit 9

Richmond Hill, ON., L4C 0A9

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Date/Time9/14/2012 at 10:31:44 PM

As a contractor that has gone through this a few times, it is very specific what can and cannot be put into the lien amount. Regardless, the contractor will always include costs to administer the lien. This cost will vary depending if the contractor is doing it themselves (simplified method) or using a lawyer.

Although liens have a negative connotation with them, construction liens are part of the project process and are actually quite common in large projects. In addition, just because you were given a notice, does not mean that the contractor is not willing to talk to you about it. By law they have to act within a certain timeframe regardless where you are in the process of negotiating the final bill. A lien does not actually come into play until it is perfected .

In this case, it sounds like there was is a difference of opinion in the final bill. Was the contract a quote or estimate? Were you made aware of the changes and agreed to them? Were you given updates / reports on progress and costs?

Depending on the cost of your work, if it was small (less than a couple thousand) it is likely the administrative costs associated with the lien that is making the bill almost double. There are limits to the amount that can be done in the simplified method.

There are tons of good sites that explain the Construction Lien Act for Ontario; dispite the legal mumbo jumbo, it really is not that complicated.



John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

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Date/Time9/15/2012 at 12:07:00 AM

Hello Kerry,

Without knowing what the actual work was or what the additional entails there really is no way to help you or figure this out. Did you have a door put on? Or did you have your house gutted and the contractor found lots of issues that could not be seen before opening the place up?



Hamilton House Painters

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Date/Time9/15/2012 at 10:23:10 AM


What was the date that the contractor last provided its services to the site? Was there a contract in place? What were the terms of the contract? Did the contract specify the manor in which extras would be addressed? Has the value of work performed been verified?

Kerry our seasoned professionals have experience in identifying, analyzing and preparing construction claims and disputes for construction projects throughout the GTA. We can assist you in assessing or validating entitlement and quantification of damages thus promoting a successful resolution in an efficient and timely manner. We assist our clients in ll construction industries by identifying, analyzing, quantifying, and presenting construction claims that may arise during a project.

One of the earlier posters was absolutely correct in stating that their are things that can and cannot be liened. There are also situations that would either prevent your contractor from liening and or that would specifically best protect your interests in the event of a justifiable dispute.

I wish you the best of luck in resolving your issues.

Adam Altobelli, B.A. (law), ACAC: CMI

The GeoFocus Group

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Date/Time9/15/2012 at 11:23:10 AM

Good day Kerry,

Alberta law is a little different than anywhere else in Canada. You need to take several variables into account, as follows:

1) Quote, Contract Services Agreement

2) Additional Products / Services / Amounts Agreed Upon

3) Project Duration, Additions Duration

4) Project Delays (Product, Contractor, Client Interference)

5) Quality Workmanship installation

You must know that any and all agreements shall be of legally binding to all parties. Should any further agreements be inclusive, either written or verbal, they also must be followed. Should there be any issues or problems arising out of the work performed the clients first responsibility is to contact the Contractor in which has performed the original work to allow first opportunity to rectify the issues or problems. Disputes occur but ultimately any judgement will be determined through the agreed upon contracts and whether there are any breach of contract by any or all parties.

We are a Contractor and there are times in which we have no choice but to place liens. Believe me, it is our duty as Reputable Contractors to know these provisions and responsibilities.

Good luck but remember to follow your contracts and the law.


Cindy and Dan

Diva Dream Designs

Edmonton, AB

Telephone: 780-932-7419

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John from JALS Corporation in Welland
Date/Time9/16/2012 at 10:50:14 AM

If you have a written detailed contract you should not have any problems, but it sounds like this did not happen.

Did the contractor tell you that more work would be required and did they put a cost on the extras or did they assume that by simply telling you about the problems that you agreed to the extras.

If this is the case you may want to contact the better business bureau in your province or contact legal advise I sure you can get some free legal advise from the internet

Good luck

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Date/Time9/16/2012 at 11:19:39 AM

If there was a original quote stating the exact work to be carried out and final price along with a signed contract then you pay upon that contract. If there was unseen issues that may have arisen throughout the commencing work a written change order would have to be agreed and signed by you in order for them to proceed. Either way I would reveiw all documents you have then proceed as you feel.

Hope this helps.

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Date/Time9/16/2012 at 1:24:11 PM

Hi Kerry,

In my neck of the woods you can simply pay the amount into the courts. You might mention to the contractor that you intend to do this ( the threat of taking the legal route may cause a change of heart for the contractor). Or you might have to proceed to small claims court.

Dan Brown, RHI

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Serge in Concord
Date/Time9/17/2012 at 5:38:43 PM

Hi Kerry,

What is the amount that the contractor claiming lienable? If difference is under 10K pay him and get rid of him and have detailed contract next time. Lawyer will cost you over 10K if he preserves and perfects the lien (300 dollars for him). If he goes into litigation you are looking at 30K and up in costs.

Hope it helps.

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