Home > I have a lien on my house

I have a lien on my house

August 10th, 2011 at 01:36 pm

I have to confess that the construction on the house also left me with a lien on my house. Thinking about the whole thing gets me angry and stressed. So I have been in denial. But yesterday I received another letter from the company and know it is time to deal with it.

Essentially, when we bought the house, the back wall was sinking and had dragged the floors down with it so the back of the house was slanted. The load bearing walls in the interior had been moved to non-load bearing areas and had warped the floors from the weight of the house sitting on them. This was all covered up with plywood floating on top of the floors so it appeared that everything was level. I am still really mad at whomever decided to fix the problem by floating plywood and then carpeting and not revealing the problem when they sold the place. But it is what it is.

Anyways, my general contractor hired a construction company to straighten out the floors. We went with the mid priced company who is a big name in town. The construction company sent some guys out and after a week we saw less and less of the guys. The job was dragging out. And the job site was vacant most of the time.

After a few weeks the guys said they were done. This was already longer than expected to take to complete the job. My general contractor (GC) went out to the site and pointed out areas that still needed work.
A few weeks later they said they were done again. My GC pointed out more areas that needed work.

Then they said they were done again and my GC went through and took pictures of everything that needed work and sent them to the owner of the company with a furious email blasting the company and threatening to tell everyone in town about the quality of work from this company. My GC got a VM apologizing and the owner went through the next day with the GC and they identified what needed to be fixed.

The workers came out the next day, did some work and said they were done.

My GC came out and they had done nothing to fix the problems under the house.

At that point he told me to forget this company, donít pay them the remaining $3k and weíll get someone else to fix it. He called the owner and said that we were not going to pay because the work was not complete and now we donít even want them to complete it. The owner told the GC to pay what was fair for the work done. The GC said he would think about it. Then the GC had a day laborer who was on the job already fix under the house, and our carpenter kind of jigged the flooring so it was even-er. The plan was to send the difference in money to the construction company, but my GC got so angry every time he thought about it that he said to not pay anything. So we didnít. But the dining room is still tilted, you can tell because my china cabinet leans. And my back guest bedroom is still slanted; you get a miniature case of vertigo when you walk across the floor. Both problems are so minute that people question me when they see it; ďis it me, or is that cabinet case tilted towards the fireplace?Ē, ďGamecock, is something wrong with this floor, I kind of feel like Iím walking downward.Ē
I just nod my head and say ďI know, itís tilted.Ē And laugh it off because we are in a hundred year old house.

Anyways, I stopped communicating with the construction company. My better judgment was to call and explain why I was not paying the last draw, but my husband and GC both told me the owner of the company would construction talk me in circles and end up making me feel like I should pay or end up saying something heíll use against me in court. So I never called.

I received a letter saying they were going to put a lien on my house. Oddly enough, it was for $4k, not the $3k I owed.
My GC explained I had two options:

I could go to the court and put down the $4k as proof that I have the money and have the money held in escrow type account while this is settled in court.

I could ignore the lien because it does not effect me until I sell my house which we have no intention to do. The lien needs to be renewed every 4 yrs by the construction company just to stay valid and chances are after 4-8 yrs theyíll stop renewing the lien.

We ignored it until construction was over. We were still ignoring it up til yesterday when I got another bill from the company asking me to pay $2200 of the $3k that I owed.

I am tempted to just pay it. But my GC says not to- we can go to court and win this because our floors are not level within ĺ of an inch which the contract states they would be. And our carpenter who jigged the floors and then worked on the rest of the house said heíll go to court for me and we would win hands down.

But I donít want to go to court. I donít want to hire a lawyer. I donít want to risk losing. I wish BB would handle it for me but he is more inclined to believe the GC and wait it out and not do anything.
I think I am going to call the owner and offer $1500. And ask them to send me a notice that the contract has been paid in full. But I am afraid the owner will argue me in circles or offer to come fix it now or corner me into something I am not prepared to do.

Ugh. I think I will think on it longer and deal with it next week.

6 Responses to “ I have a lien on my house”

  1. Miz Pat Says:

    What an awful situation, and what a rotton company. Too bad you can't find someplace to write up a public review of their work and how they treated you.

  2. Petunia 100 Says:

    If the company sues you for 3k, wouldn't that be small claims court? Meaning, you would not need an attorney?

    I think it is outrageous that they didn't finish the job but still expect you to pay. And I think that it would be fine to notify them of that IN WRITING.

    I understand your not wanting to deal with the company, so how about your husband gives them a call?

  3. gamecock43 Says:

    I dont know anything about small claims court or this process. I would want to consult an attorney to at least get an idea of the process and potential risks.

    Having a house lein is not as bad in reality as it sounds. It's pretty ignorable.

  4. creditcardfree Says:

    Could you could send your counter offer in writing. And if they have to make sure the company actually takes the lien off your house. How do you make sure that happens? Does a letter showing the lien paid in full from the company work?

  5. crazyliblady Says:

    You should contact the Better Business Bureau and write up a review of the company so that others know what bad service they deliver. It could save someone else the same agony you are dealing with now.

    I know you are just kind of wanting it out of your hair, but if it were me, I would not offer ANY money for a job that was not well done. If you are unsure how to pursue it, talk to a lawyer. If you go to court, take pictures of everything and documentation of what they were supposed to do and what they did not do. If you pay up, they will likely get away with it again.

  6. baselle Says:

    It sounds to me like your GC is acting in your interest - the GC and the sub are both in the biz, the GC has explained to the sub repeatedly that the work is subpar. Both the GC and the sub are playing a game of chicken. The sub is trying to scare you (not being in the biz and henceforth scarable) into giving him money, any amount of money. The GC is helping you out here - the lien is scary, but your biggest weapon is NOT paying until the job is done properly. I would take it to small claims court if necessary. If its as bad as to cause vertigo, you have the evidence, the contracts, everything. No need to scream or shriek. If it goes to court, they've lost.

    Frankly, you pay and nothing will happen. The sub will not remove the lien. Why should they? You've proven that you'll fold. They then get a little bit of $ to try the same trick again, perhaps even re-try it on you. What's to stop them from reapplying the lien if they do take it off?

    The only thing that I MIGHT do is put 3K in escrow just in the 1% case that you'd lose in small claims court. I'd also ask for legal advice about whether its better if you sue them or they sue you, and whether the GC will testify on your behalf in court.

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