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Question

Discussion in 'Consumer Fraud & Scams' started by Carriem1388, May 4, 2016.

  1. Carriem1388

    Carriem1388 Law Topic Starter Guest

    Jurisdiction:
    California
    Can a unlicensed contractor place a lien on a house for labor performed? I hired a man that said he was licensed but turned out he's not and I paid him 4,000 dollars upfront for supplies and he said that would cover materials and labor for everything. He hired cement company and had his own workers lay cement but apparently didn't ever pay them. Now I have cement company and his unlicensed workers coming to my door saying they will being placing liens if I don't pay them even though I already paid 4,000 upfront. I confronted the guy I paid and he said he would take care of it but didn't. Also can cement company place a Lien too even though I never signed a contract or agreement with them nor did I sign for supplies when they were delivered? I have already filed a small claims against the guy I paid as he will not return my refund since I discontinued services and have filed complaints with the state contractors licensing board and the better business bureau.
     
  2. d1amund

    d1amund Member

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  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    You can tell the unlicensed workers to pound sand but the cement company is another story. The cement company is likely to have a lot of legal leverage over you.

    I hope you realize that, even if you get a default judgment (likely), you'll probably never see a nickel from the fly-by-night contractor that you hired without checking the license board to see if he really was licensed.
     
  4. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    This is a complex situation and I don't know the value of the work done. Here are a couple of facts which may be impacting on a contractor's lien and a lawsuit such as the one filed.

    There is a concept in equity called "unjust enrichment" which is also called "quasi contract." The Unjust Enrichment Doctrine is based upon fundamental principles of fairness. If someone comes over to your house to paint it and believes you hired him - but you sit there and watch him paint your house - you can be liable to pay even without a contract. This is because the law recognizes that it would be unfair to let you take advantage of the situation (perhaps an accident) and walk away with a windfall. Your defense of not signing a contract will likely do you no good. His not having licensed workers is another story.

    The cement company may have its own problems. They were hired by the contractor. You paid the contractor in full and that hasn't changed by your lawsuit. Their problem is being paid by the contractor, not the property owner, who may have paid the full value of the work done. Hence it would be inappropriate for the property owner to cover the default of the contractor to pay the subcontractor.
     

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