Answered 2 months ago

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Matt Viator

Legal Associate zlien

I'm sorry to hear about your situation, that sounds very frustrating. While I'm not quite sure what you're looking for in terms of the desired outcome, I can provide some information that might be helpful moving forward. However, I'm not able to provide you with any advice on how you should move forward - and in order to receive legal advice, consulting a local attorney or asking a question of the attorneys at Avvo.com would be helpful. With that in mind, let's look at some potential options here. First, it's worth noting that when there's no written contract, it's hard to prove what was and was not included in the original scope of work. Thus, any battle over the terms of the verbal agreement will be hard to nail down, and it'd probably take a lot of time, effort, and expense for either side to assert and prove that the contract was breached. Granted, when one party instructs the other to take their stuff and leave, that would seem to constitute the termination of the agreement - potentially putting the terminating party in breach. If the party who allegedly terminated the contract is stating that they did not intend to terminate the agreement, then conceivably, work could be continued. If one party demands the other leave the project site, it would seem hard to argue that the party leaving the job, as requested, was breaching the agreement. All in all - where the working relationship is unsalvageable, and when the amounts in dispute aren't that serious, filing a breach of contract claim might not be worth the expense. At the same time, where considerable amounts are owed and where a claimant feels they have a strong case - they could decide it's in their best interest. There's no real black or white answer. When payment is owed for construction work that's been performed, one of the strongest tools available will typically be a mechanics lien. A mechanics lien, unlike a breach of contract claim, does not require legal action. Rather, a lien is filed in the property record and will typically cost considerably less than litigating a dispute (though, a lien claim could spur a lawsuit itself). What's more, the mere threat of filing a mechanics lien is often enough to compel payment - which we discuss in this article: What is a Notice of Intent to Lien? While a lien claim is cheaper and often less risky than a lawsuit, the threat of a lien involves even less cost and less risk. Naturally, though, any threat to an owner's property title could result in a dispute. But again -whether or not it's worth fighting a situation varies case by case.

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