Home>Discussions>MAGAZINE>YourTOH>Contractor vs. Homeowner Horror Stories>Now that you've paid for it how about paying for it again?
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Now that you've paid for it how about paying for it again?

Many years ago when I was a kid my parents contracted with a builder to build them a house. The contractor ended up not finishing the job. Worse, he declared bankruptcy and had not paid some of the subs. The subs filed liens on the house and my parents ended up paying for things again that they’d already paid the contractor for. The house ended up costing them a whole lot more than it was supposed to. The financial repercussions from this affected my family for years.

A. Spruce
Re: Now that you've paid for it how about paying for it again?

That has never made sense to me either. The point of the lien is to make sure the contractor gets paid for services rendered (also the reason for demanding lien releases - contractors and subs who provide them no longer levy liens upon your property ). It would make more sense if only the primary contractor could lien the property, all subs and suppliers would have to go after the contractor for payments, not the homeowners who've already paid. Or, if the homeowner can show proof of payment, then they should be absolved of responsibility for unpaid bills by the contractor.

More than one unscrupulous contractor has taken advantage of unsuspecting clients in this manner. This is also why it is imperative that everything be in writing, the total scope of work, any changes should be in writing and agreed upon BEFORE they occur, payment amounts and schedule, everything. It's also a good idea to "know thy contractor". Use only those professionals that come recommended by individuals you trust. If possible, have them do a small job, or several small jobs, before hiring for really large projects. Ultimately, it's up to the homeowner to protect their interests by doing their homework on anyone that is hired to do work on their property. Most states have a licensing or regulating body that keeps an eye on contractors and takes action when complaints are brought against said contractor. Use them, that's what they are there for.

Re: Now that you've paid for it how about paying for it again?

And lien waivers from the material suppliers.

Your contractor may be a great guy who's totally on the up & up, but if he drops dead during the job, his acccounts may be frozen and there may be outstanding bills from either subs and/or suppliers. All of them might come after the HO if there are no lien waivers.......rather than waiting for the courts to get things straightened out.....and everyone paid.

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