A Contractor a hired site has not paid his subcontractor and he has placed a lien on my property. There is only a $3,000 holdback and the contractor has about $9.000 worth of work left to be done. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I'm a bit confused as to what your asking but I will do my best to answer. In the future to avoid something like this happening, if you paid the renovation company for the work performed, even sub trades like electricians, plumbers and so forth, you can ask your contractor to get a statutory declaration made for all individual sub-trades prior to making your payment, that way you are left in the clear, the contractor has no right to refuse since this is a client's right to do so to prevent having a lean on there property.
If you paid for the work that the sub contractors did, you need to address this with your contractor and tell him you will make no further payments until they pay there sub-trades & remove the lien. If he's not paying his sub-trades he's probably financially struggling which I doubt that you will be able to make him pay.
I would definitely go speak to a lawyer, all lawyers offer a 30 min consultation for free. They would be best fitted to tell you your options. To be honest, it's very expensive to put a lien on a property, therefore he's already spent about $1000.00 to $3000.00 just to put a claim, to perfect the lien, it might cost about $9000.00 or more plus lawyer fees so they probably won't perfect the lien and are saying this to scare you. If the lien expires, you can no longer issue a lien, so hopefully they will not perfect it or else your looking at an expensive resolution. You will have to go to court, & I think you need to pay out the sub-trade since you did not due your due diligence and make sure that all sub-trades were paid. If you have a lien on your property, you won't be able to re-mortgage your house or sell your house. Definitely speak to a lawyer. If this company is a legitimate company I would definitely write an awful review to start.
Dream Touch Renovations
First it doesn't cost $3000 to put a lien, that's what lawyers charge for that. You can go straight to land registry office and put a lien yourself for like $160.
Lien will be removed automatically after 90 days if sub trade doesn't submit papers to court. Most of the time it's a scare tactic to make people pay and doesn't cost much. Most of the time there's no point for contractors to go to court because there will be lawyer expenses.
In your case my first step would be to talk to your contractor and ask him to pay his subtrade and remove a lien. If that doesn't work I would wait 90 days and then stop by land registry office to see if papers were submited to court, if they can't see it in a system you can ask them to remove lien on a spot.
If case goes to small claim court (it's under 50k) it will usually take around a year minimum for a first hearing. If you need to refinance or sell your house before your court date you can always put lien ammout to court to hold in trust until decision made. Lien will get removed instantly when court confirms that they recieved money to hold in trust.
If case ruled your way they will give your money back, if court takes contractors side they will release your cheque to them.
I've been in 7 lien courts and 7 times it's been ruled 50-50. It's not a real court, it's a joke. It will take 15 mins in total and judge will say ok here's 4500 back and 4500 to contractor.
And little advice for all contractors who put a lien against bad customer who doesn't pay - always lien for a bigger amount cuz it will never get ruled 100% your way.
It depends which province you live in. A builders lien in Alberta only costs $15.00 unless you are having the home owner name on lien then it costs $25.00. As for your situation it's the homeowners ultimate responsibility to make sure all parties involved in your construction project is paid. If that much work is still to be done tell the contractor you will not be paying any more payments until you know everyone involved has been paid. Or you can tell your contractor you will be paying the sub so the lien gets taken off your house.
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